Résumé : Crude plasma membranes were prepared from the liver of control rats or of rats submitted to an initiation by diethyl-nitrosamine and selection with 2-acetylaminofluorene and carbon tetrachloride (group IS) or of rats submitted to an initiation-selection protocol followed by a promotion with phenobarbital (group IS PB). In control rats, the diterpene forskolin and glucagon stimulated the activity of adenylate cyclase 6- to 7-fold. Guanosine-5'-O-(2-thiodiphosphate) (GDP beta S) inhibited the stimulation by both agents and the non-hydrolyzable GTP analog, guanyl-5'-yl-imidodiphosphate [Gpp(NH)p], potentiated the stimulatory effect of glucagon. In rats of the IS group, no modification of the activity of the liver cyclase was found, except for an increased response to forskolin and glucagon. In the IS PB group, for the rats without tumor, the only effect of adding phenobarbital was to increase the sensitivity of the cyclase to forskolin. In tumoral tissue, the response to Gpp(NH)p, glucagon and forskolin were increased when compared to the surrounding tissue. In contrast to the surrounding tissue, GDP beta S potentiated the stimulatory effect of forskolin. When the affinity of the glucagon receptors for the hormone was measured in binding experiments, no difference was observed among the rats of the various groups, except for a higher affinity in tumoral tissue. Similarly, GTP inhibited the binding of glucagon with the same potency in each group. It is concluded that during hepatocarcinogenesis, the sensitivity of the adenylate cyclase towards glucagon increases secondarily to a better binding of the hormone to its receptor and to an impairment of the inhibitory regulatory site.