A general solution is given for the steady state form of the heat conduction equation applied to a simple tumor model which is imagined as being heated by means of electrical currents flowing between metallic electrodes. The model assumes a homogeneous tumor with no bloodflow. The solution for the special case of constant temperature and potential at the surface of the heated volume is examined in detail. The solution shows that there exists, independent of the particular tumor and electrode geometry, a close relationship between the steady state temperature distribution and the electrical potential. Among the more important implications of this relationship are that equipotential surfaces within the heated volume are also isothermal surfaces and that no areas of excessive heat at or near any sharp edges or corners of the electrodes should develop, despite the high electric field intensity. Based on the theory, a procedure is outlined which might greatly facilitate the determination of temperature distributions in phantoms. Finally, the usefulness and the limitations of the theoretical models in clinical hyperthermia are discussed. © 1981, American Association of Physicists in Medicine. All rights reserved.