Aceanthrylene (ACE), a cyclopenta-fused polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (CP-PAH) related to anthracene, has been studied for its ability to be metabolized, to form DNA adducts, and to morphologically transform C3H101/2CL8 mouse embryo fibroblasts in culture. ACE is metabolized by C3H101T1/2 cells to ACE-1,2-dihydrodiol (the cyclopenta-ring dihydrodiol) at a rate of 450 pmoles ACE-1,2-dihydrodiol formed/hr10 sup 6 cells. ACE-7,8-dihydrodiol and ACE-9,10-dihydrodiol, identified as major Aroclor-1254 induced rat liver microsomal metabolites from their UV, NMR, and mass spectral data, were not identified in incubations of C3H10T1/2 cells with ACE. ACE-DNA adducts in C3H10T1/2 cells were isolated, separated, identified, and quantitated using the 32p-postlabeling method. ACE forms four major adducts and each was identified as ACE-1,2-oxide/2'-de-oxyguanosine adducts. ACE-DNA adduct persistence and repair were evaluated in C3H10T1/2 cells using a hydroxyurea block after ACE treatment. ACE-DNA adducts were not repaired under the conditions used in the morphological transformation studies. Thus, ACE provides an interesting example of a mutagenic PAH which is metabolized by C3H10T1/2 cells to active intermediates, forms relatively stable and persistent 2'-deoxyguanosine adducts in C3H10T1/2 cells, and yet induces no detectable morphological transforming activity under the experimental conditions used.