Recently, we reported the selective accumulation of hypericin in transitional cell carcinoma cells following intravesical instillation of hypericin in humans. This observation infers that hypericin, a potent photosensitizer, could be used as a selective PDT (photodynamic therapy) tool against superficial bladder cancer. The aim of the present study was to investigate in vitro whether hypericin exhibits specific affinity for TCC transitional cell carcinoma) bladder cells and to assess its photocytotoxic effect. Three human TCC cell lines (J-82, T-24 and RT-4), a chemically induced rat TCC cell line (NBT-II), but also non-bladder carcinoma cells (HeLa, A431, MCF-7 and MCF-***ADR) and normal cells (HEL229, RPE and PHK), were used in this comparative study. Flow cytometric analysis of cells treated with different hypericin-containing vehicles for various incubation times (2 hours or 24 hours) indicated that short exposure of the cells (2 hours) to hypericin in the absence of serum results in the highest intracellular accumulation of the compound. As expected, prolonging the incubation time increased both the cellular accumulation and photocytoxicity of hypericia. With the exception of the RT-4 and MCF-7 cells (which were less sensitive to hypericin), all the other carcinoma cell lines examined showed equal sensitivity to the photoactivated hypericia, independently of their histological origin (bladder or non-bladder). Moreover, normal cells exhibited the same pattern of hypericin photosensitivity as shown by the cancer cells, indicating that, in cultured cells, hypericin cellular uptake and subsequent photokilling is not selective. This suggests that in vivo factors other than the cancer cells themselves are responsible for the specific accumulation of hypericin in urothelial carcinoma lesions.