Cell—matrix and cell—cell interactions are important physiological determinants of cell growth, survival and transformation. Cell adhesion to the extra cellular matrix (ECM) via integrins also crucially influences the organization of the cytoskeleton. It triggers a cascade of intracellular biochemical events, which regulate cell viability and growth. We have studied the relationship between cell attachment to the substratum and cytoskeletal organization and cell survival and transformation. Our results demonstrate that in the absence of attachment to the substratum, adhesion-dependent fibroblasts exhibit rapid loss of viability. However, a small percentage of cells survive even after remaining non-adherent for 16h. The adherent and non-adherent cells differ from one another both morphologically and physiologically. The latter show a loss of α5β1 integrin expression on their surface and bind non-specifically to the substratum and ECM, thereby activating certain pathways more efficiently than adherent cells. We have also shown that non-adherent cells grow faster and have worse cytoskeletal organization after attachment to the substratum, and do not form focal adhesions or actin stress fibres. Hence, our data suggests that rat fibroblasts in prolonged suspension exhibit some properties that are comparable to cells undergoing transformation, by adapting integrin-dependent or independent signalling pathways for their survival.