This laboratory has previously used a window chamber model to measure red blood cell velocity in mammary tumors and normal granulation tissues of the F-344 rat. Because red cell flux and hematocrit more accurately reflect the oxygen carrying potential of blood, we used this model to measure these parameters. Red blood cells were labelled with fluorescein isothiocyanate, and 0.2 ml. packed cells were injected intravenously into rats bearing an 8 to 10 day old R-3230 mammary carcinoma. beta-phycoerythrin (0.15 mg.) was also injected and served as a plasma dye to outline the blood vessels. A sample of peripheral blood was then taken and analyzed by flow cytometry to determine the labeled fraction of red blood cells. Flowing tumor and normal tissue vessels were recorded onto a VCR, and these video images were used to determine vascular length and diameter, RBC flux and velocity, and hematocrit. Median vessel diameter and loge (red blood cell flux) were significantly greater in tumors than in normal tissues (p = 0.007 and p < 0.025, respectively). After controlling for these variables, the median tumor hematocrit of 19% was not significantly greater than the median normal tissue hematocrit of 15%. This technique provides a nontoxic and reproducible method that is now being used to assist in the in vivo definition of tumor oxygenation.