Duramycin, through binding with phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), has shown potential to be an effective antitumour agent. However, its mode of action in relation to tumour cells is not fully understood. PE expression on the surface of a panel of cancer cell lines was analysed using duramycin and subsequent antibody labelling, and then analysed by flow cytometry. Cell viability was also assessed by flow cytometry using annexin V and propidium iodide. Calcium ion (Ca2+) release by tumour cells in response to duramycin was determined by spectrofluorometry following incubation with Fluo-3, AM. Confocal microscopy was performed on the cancer cell line AsPC-1 to assess real-time cell response to duramycin treatment. Duramycin could detect cell surface PE expression on all 15 cancer cell lines screened, which was shown to be duramycin concentration dependent. However, higher concentrations induced necrotic cell death. Duramycin induced calcium ion (Ca2+) release from the cancer cell lines also in a concentration-dependent and time-dependent manner. Confocal microscopy showed an influx of propidium iodide into the cells over time and induced morphological changes. Duramycin induces Ca2+ release from cancer cell lines in a time-dependent and concentration-dependent manner.