Head and neck tumors are known to synthesize arachidonic acid metabolites. The authors have postulated that these infstances may confer growth advantage to cancer cells, and by interfering with arachidonic acid metabolism squamous cancer growth may be altered. The tongue derived squamous carcinoma cell line, SCC-25, was treated with three leukotriene synthesis inhibitors and indomethacin. A dose-dependent decrease in DNA synthesis occurred with leukotriene inhibition, but not prostaglandin inhibition. All leukotriene synthesis inhibitors produced a dramatic and immediate effect (>70% inhibition by 4 hours) without cytotoxicity (>90% trypan blue exclusion). Cell populations at 96 hours were decreased when compared to control populations. In conclusion, leukotrienes or other lipoxygenase products may play a role as growth factors for squamous cell carcinoma, and arachidonic acid inhibition may be a novel target for chemotherapeutic intervention.