The Scottish Cancer Therapy Network (SCTN) was created against a background of rising concerns about perceived variation in the quality of care available to patients with cancer. SCTN has established itself as a major organization with the necessary recognition and infrastructure to provide leadership, support and impetus in the field of clinical guidelines, clinical audit and clinical trials of cancer therapy in Scotland. Since being formed in 1993, SCTN has been instrumental in the development of three evidence-based, clinical guidelines and in the completion of detailed, national, retrospective audits of the treatment of five major tumour sites. The infrastructure has been used successfully to support and encourage trial participation. Challenges for the future are a re-orientation towards prospective audit, widening the constituency and sense of ownership of SCTN as a resource for practising clinicians, and further increasing recruitment into clinical trials.