Recently, heat generated by iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) stimulated by an alternating magnetic field (AMF) has shown promise in the treatment of cancer. To determine the mechanism of nanoparticle-induced cytotoxicity, the physical association of the cancer cells and the nanoparticles must be determined. We have used transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to define the time dependent cellular uptake of intratumorally administered dextran-coated, core-shell configuration IONP having a mean hydrodynamic diameter of 100-130 nm in a murine breast adenocarcinoma cell line (MTG-B) in vivo. Tumors averaging volumes of 115 mm3 were injected with iron oxide nanoparticles. The tumors were then excised and fixed for TEM at time 0.1-120 h post-IONP injection. Intracellular uptake of IONPs was 5.0, 48.8 and 91.1% uptake at one, 2 and 4 h post-injection of IONPs, respectively. This information is essential for the effective use of IONP hyperthermia in cancer treatment.