Data generated in the new National Cancer Institute drug evaluation program, which are based on inhibition of cell growth in 60 human tumor cell lines, were probed with nine known antimitotic agents using the COMPARE algorithm. Cytotoxicity data were available on approximately 7000 compounds at the time of the analysis, and, based on the criteria used, 82 compounds were selected as positive by the computer search. Nine were the probe compounds themselves, and 41 were analogues of known antimitotic agents. Among the remaining 32 compounds there were 19 distinct chemical species. Agents in ten of these groups (containing 20 compounds) were effective inhibitors of in vitro tubulin polymerization and caused the mitotic arrest of cells grown in culture. Two compounds were related natural products binding in the Vinca domain of tubulin, and the others were synthetic agents which interfered with colchicine binding. The remaining 12 agents (one natural product, the remainder synthetic) fell into several groups: two compounds were weak inhibitors of tubulin polymerization, inhibited colchicine binding, and caused mitotic arrest; one compound weakly inhibited tubulin polymerization but did not cause an increase in the number of cells arrested in mitosis; two compounds caused mitotic arrest at micromolar concentrations, but thus far no in vitro interaction with tubulin has been observed; the remainder neither inhibited tubulin polymerization nor caused a rise in the number of cultured cells arrested in mitosis. Tubulin-dependent GTP hydrolysis was stimulated or inhibited by all agents which inhibited tubulin polymerization with the exception of one compound. The analysis of differential cytotoxicity data thus appears to have great promise for the identification of new antimitotic agents with antineoplastic potential.