PURPOSE: We determined whether the uptake of Ga-67 by cultured cells occur by both transferrin (Tf)-dependent and independent mechanisms and the mechanism and magnitude of its uptake may vary as the degree of expression of the transformed phenotype. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Uptake of Ga-67 between the tansformed and untransformed cells was compared. Cells were incubated with Ga-67 in either the presence or absence of Tf and with complete medium containing Ga-67 after preincubating with anti-Tf receptor antibodies at 37oC in 8% CO2. Monolayers of cells were washed and trypsinized. Radioactivity and protein content of the samples were determined. RESULTS: Uptake of Ga-67 by cultured cells occurred both in Tf-bound and ionic form and was increased with radioactivity and time. The magnitude for the uptake of Tf-bound form was approximately 3 and 6-fold greater than ionic form. In the presence of Tf, uptake of Ga-67 was 2-fold greater in the transformed cells. Conversely, In the absence of Tf, it was 1.5-fold greater in the untransformed cells. Regardless of blocking the Tf receptor by anti-Tf receptor antibodies, a significant amount of intracellular Ga-67 uptake was found. CONCLUSION: Dual mechanisms exist for the uptake of Ga-67 by cultured cells. The primary important one was the Tf-dependent system. Tf-dependent and independent mechanisms and the magnitude operated oppositely in the transformed cells when compared to their untransformed counterpart.