The local lymph node assay has recently been accepted by regulatory agencies as a stand-alone alternate method for predicting allergic contact dermatitis. To compare the sensitivity of non-radioisotope methods with that of the standard assay, we determined if these modified methods would affect evaluation of sensitization potency. For this reason, we used 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB) and benzocaine for different sensitizing criteria. Female CBA mice were treated for 3 days with a test compound or vehicle applied to each side of both ears. Bilateral auricular lymph node proliferative activity was assessed by the following endpoints with incorporation of 3H-methyl thymidine (3H-TdR), bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) in vivo, and BrdU ex vivo, IL-2 production, and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression. Ear thickness was also tested. The strong sensitizer DNCB was detectable by any of the non-radioisotope endpoints as well as by radioisotope-dependent standard assay. On the other hand, when evaluating the weak sensitizer benzocaine, significant changes were evident in BrdU incorporation ex vivo and in vivo, and IL-2 production. We believe that these non-radioisotope methods can assess allergic contact dermatitis caused by chemicals even in the laboratory, where it can be difficult to handle radioisotopes.