Hypericin is a novel, highly fluorescent photosensitizer that exhibits selective tumor cell uptake properties and is particularly resistant to photobleaching. In this study, we have characterized hypericin uptake in human pancreatic tumor cells with relation to incubation time, cell number, and drug concentration. Ex vivo hypericin based fluorescence spectroscopy was performed to detect the presence of MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic tumor cells in the peritoneal cavity of BALB/c nude mice, as well as to quantify gross tumor burden. Hypericin based cytology of peritoneal lavage samples, using both one and two photon laser confocal microscopy, demonstrated more than a two-fold increase in fluorescence emission of pancreatic tumor cells as compared to control samples. In vitro treatment of pancreatic cancer cells with hypericin based photodynamic therapy showed tumor cell cytotoxicity in a drug dose, incident laser power, and time dependent manner. For these experiments, a continuous wavelength solid-state laser source (532 nm) was operated at power levels in the range of 100-400 mW. Potential applications of hypericin in tumor diagnosis, staging, and therapy will be presented.