In this study, an injectable microemulsion of arsenic trioxide (As2O3-M) was prepared for intratumoral injection and the suppressive effect of As2O3-loaded microemulsion on human breast cancer cells MCF-7 was compared with those of a solution of the drug. Microemulsion was made up of soybean oil as oil phase, a mixture of Brij 58 and Span 80 as surfactants, absolute ethanol as cosurfactant, and bidistilled water containing As2O3 solution as the aqueous phase. Microemulsion formulation contains 5 x 10(-6) M As2O3. The pH of As2O3-M was adjusted to 7.35 +/- 0.1 and the physicochemical stability of the formulation was observed. The particle size distribution and zeta potential of As2O3-M were measured by Zetasizer 3000 HSA. The mean droplet diameters of As2O3-M were determined as 8.6 +/- 0.4 run. As2O3-M exhibited 13.1 +/- 0.9 mV zeta potential. The formulation was physically stable for 12 months at room temperature when kept in ampule forms, as well as after autoclaving at 110degreesC for 30 min. The antitumor effects of As2O3-M were examined on human breast cancer cells MCF-7. It was clearly demonstrated that As2O3-M had a significant cytotoxic effect on breast cancer cell lines, and the cytotoxic effect of As2O3-M was significantly more than that of regular As2O3 solutions. Even similar to3000 times diluted microemulsion formulation loaded with 5 x 10(-6) M As2O3 showed a cytotoxic effect. As a result, this diluted concentration (similar to1.6 x 10(-9) M) was found 1000 times more effective than regular As2O3 solutions (5 x 10-6 M). According to the in vitro cytotoxicity studies, we concluded that when As2O3 was incorporated into the microemulsion (As2O3-M), which is a new drug carrier system, it suppresses tumor cell growth on multiple tumor lines. These results indicate that As2O3-M may exert a low cytotoxic effect on normal cells and may be effective as an antitumor agent that induces apoptosis.