A newly synthesized calmodulin antagonist, (S)-P-(2-aminoethyloxy)-N-[2-(4-benzyloxy-carbonylpiperazinyl++ +)-1-(P-methoxybenzyl)ethyl]-N-methylbenzenesulfonamide dihydrochloride (W-77), acts as a calcium-independent uncompetitive antagonist which binds to glutathione-S-transferase (GST). We purified GST from human placenta using drug affinity chromatography on a column of W-77 coupled with Sepharose 6B and demonstrated that W-77 bound to GST. A spectrophotometric assay also showed that W-77 inhibited GST activity. We prepared Adriamycin-resistant and -sensitive cells from human ovarian serous cystadenocarcinomas. Immunoblot analysis revealed that GST expression was increased in the Adriamycin-resistant cells. We also purified GST from Adriamycin-resistant cells and found that W-77 bound to the GST obtained from these ovarian carcinoma cells. Adriamycin resistance was partially overcome by the addition of W-77 (10 microM) to the cultured cells. In addition, we investigated the effect of W-77 on P-glycoprotein. Northern blot analysis revealed MDR1 gene expression in Adriamycin-resistant cells. Although W-77 was less potent in increasing the intracellular Adriamycin content than verapamil, it was more effective in overcoming Adriamycin resistance. These results suggest that W-77 enhances the antitumor activity of Adriamycin by inhibiting both GST and P-glycoprotein.