A series of 11-oxo-11H-indeno[1,2-b]quinolines bearing a carboxamide-linked cationic side chain at various positions on the chromophore was studied to determine structure-activity relationships between cytotoxicity and the position of the side chain. The compounds were prepared by Pfitzinger synthesis from an appropriate isatin and 1-indanone, followed by various oxidative steps, to generate the required carboxylic acids. The 4- and 6-carboxamides (with the side chain on a terminal ring, off the short axis of the chromophore) were effective cytotoxins. The dimeric 4- and 6-linked analogues were considerably more cytotoxic than the parent monomers, but had broadly similar activities. In contrast, analogues with side chains at the 8-position (on a terminal ring but off the long axis of the chromophore) or 10-position (off the short axis of the chromophore but in a central ring) were drastically less effective. The 4,10- and 6,10-biscarboxamides had activities between those of the corresponding parent monocarboxamides. The first of these showed good activity against advanced subcutaneous colon 38 tumours in mice.