Résumé : The metabolism of albendazole (ABZ), a benzimidazole anthelminthic, was studied in either microsomal preparations of human liver biopsies or cultured human hepatoma cell lines. Metabolites were analyzed by HPLC. Our data show that microsomes from human biopsies and two human cell lines, HepG2 and Hep3B, oxidize the drug to the sulfoxide very efficiently, whereas the third cell line tested, DK-HEP-1, does not. Both cytochrome P-450 dependent monooxygenases and flavin-containing monooxygenases appear to be involved in human ABZ metabolism. Using the cell line displaying the highest ABZ-metabolizing activity, HepG2, the cytotoxic and the inducing effects of the parent drug ABZ and of two primary metabolites, the sulfoxide and the sulfone were studied. These three chemicals provoked a rise in mitotic index resulting from cell division blockage at the prophase or at the metaphase (ABZ metabolites) stage, and ABZ was more cytotoxic than its metabolites. With regard to enzyme-inducing effects, our data clearly demonstrate that the sulfoxide and, to a lesser degree, the sulfone are potent inducers of some drug metabolizing enzymes (i.e., cytochrome P-488 dependent monooxygenases and UDP glucuronyltransferase), whereas ABZ fails to increase and even slightly decreases these enzymatic activities. In conclusion, the HepG2 human hepatoma cell line appears to be suitable for the study of many parameters of metabolism and action of ABZ and other structurally related compounds in humans.