MVP chemotherapy (mitomycin C 8 mg m(-2), courses 1, 2, 4 and 6, vinblastine 6 mg m(-2), cisplatin 50 mg m(-2)) is an active low-toxicity regimen in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Based on the single-agent activity of these agents in SCLC, we have conducted a phase II trial of MVP in SCLC. Fifty chemo-naive patients with SCLC were entered in this trial. There were 33 men and 17 women with median age 66 years (range 46-83 years); 18 patients had limited disease (LD) and 32 extensive disease (ED). WHO performance status (PS) was: three patients PS 0, 33 patients PS 1, ten patients PS 2, four patients PS 3. A maximum of six cycles was given in responding patients. On completion of chemotherapy, patients with LD obtaining complete response (CR)/good partial response (PR) received thoracic irradiation and those obtaining CR were offered entry into the ongoing MRC Prophylactic Cranial Irradiation Trial. The overall response was 79% with 17% CR and 62% PR. For LD patients, 38% obtained CR but for ED only one patient achieved CR. Median response duration for LD patients was 8 months and for ED patients 5 months. Median survival was 10 months for LD patients and 6 months for ED patients. There was complete resolution of symptoms in 24%, partial improvement in 68%, no change in 2% and progressive symptoms in 6%. As regards toxicity, 24% developed WHO grade 3/4 neutropenia, 16% grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia and 6% significant hair loss. Two patients died during the first week of treatment with neutropenic infection. Quality of life using the EORTC questionnaire (QLC-C30) with lung cancer module demonstrated significant improvements from baseline levels in emotional and cognitive functioning, global QOL, of pain, dyspnoea and cough. MVP, an effective palliative regimen for NSCLC, is also active against SCLC with low toxicity and merits comparison with more toxic conventional schedules.