Aqueous and organic extracts of 25 selected species from four tribes of Hungarian Asteraceae were screened in vitro for antiproliferative activity against HeLa (cervix epithelial adenocarcinoma), A431 (skin epidermoid carcinoma) and MCF7 (breast epithelial adenocarcinoma) cells, using the MTT assay. Twenty five of the 228 tested extracts from different parts of the species of Astereae (6), Inuleae (3), Heliantheae (5) and Anthemideae (11) demonstrated a substantial antiproliferative effect (at least 50% inhibition of cell proliferation) at 10 µg/mL against one or more of the cell lines. Complete dose-response curves were generated and IC50 values were calculated for these active extracts, and their direct cytotoxic effects were determined. In summary, 11 of the tested 25 plants were found to be active and 4 of them (Anthemis ruthenica, Erigeron canadensis, Erigeron annuus and Inula ensifolia) had not been studied previously for either active compounds or anticancer properties. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.