In order to analyze potential carcinogenic and genotoxic responses caused by exposure to pollutants existing in environment, a screening method has been established in our laboratory that uses a stably transfected HepG2 cell lines containing gadd153 promoter regions which drive a luciferase reporter gene. Activation of the exogenous gadd153 promoter was quantified using the luciferase activity following drug exposure. Twenty four agents were used to evaluate this screening assay. We selected the agents, ranging from DNA alkylating agents, oxidative agent, radiation, DNA cross-linking agent, nongenotoxic carcinogens, precarcinogenic agents, which included cadmium chloride, chromium trichloride, mercuric chloride, lead nitrate, dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, deltamethrin, biphenylamine, 2-aminofluorene, benzo[a]pyrene, 2,3,7,8,-tetracblorodibenzo-p-dioxin, diethyl-stilbestrol, carbon tetrachloride, mitomycin C, hydroxycamptothecin, UV, sodium fluoride, acrylamide, hydrogen peroxide. In addition, two complex genotoxic agents (water samples) existing in the environment were selected. The results showed that all 20 tested known carcinogenic and genotoxic agents were able to induce gadd153-Luc expression at a sublethal dose. In contrast, four tested non-carcinogens, included 4-acetylaminofluorene, pyrene, benzylpenicillin sodium and vitamin C, were unable to induce gadd153-Luc expression. In conclusion, this reporter system can facilitate in vitro screening for potential carcinogens. Therefore, the gadd153-Luc test system we have developed appears to be a useful and complementary system to existing genotoxic and mutagenic tests.