Complementary treatment possibilities for the therapy of cancer are increasing in demand due to the severe side effects of the standard cytostatics used in the first-line therapy. A common approach as a complementary treatment is the use of aqueous extracts of Viscum album L. (Santalaceace). The therapeutic activity of these extracts is attributed to Mistletoe lectins which are Ribosome-inactivating proteins type II. Besides these main constituents the extract of Viscum album L. comprises also a mixture of lipophilic ingredients like triterpene acids of the oleanane, lupane and ursane type. However, these constituents are not contained in commercially available aqueous extracts due to their high lipophilicity and insolubility in aqueous extraction media. To understand the impact of the extract ingredients in cancer therapy, the intracellular uptake of the mistletoe lectin I (ML) by cultured tumor cells was investigated in relation to the mistletoe triterpene acids, mainly oleanolic acid. Firstly, these hydrophobic triterpene acids were solubilized using cyclodextrins ("TT" extract). Afterwards, the uptake of either single compounds (isolated ML and the aqueous "viscum" extract) or in combination with the TT extract (ML+TT, viscumTT), was analyzed. The uptake of ML was studied inTHP-1-, HL-60-, 143B- and Ewing TC-71-cells and determined after 30, 60 and 120 minutes by an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay which quantifies the A-chain of the hololectin. It could be shown that the intracellular uptake after 120 minutes amounted to 20 % in all cell lines after incubation with viscumTT. The studies further revealed that the uptake in THP-1-, HL-60- and Ewing TC-71-cells was independent of the addition of TT extract. Interestingly, the uptake of ML by 143B-cells could only be measured after addition of triterpenes pointing to resistance to mistletoe lectin.