The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical activity and toxicity of a modified PVB regimen (cisplatin, vinblastine and bleomycin) in patients with advanced or recurrent, pure granulosa cell tumours (GCTs) or mixed granulosa-theca cell tumours (GTCTs). The PVB regimen consisted of cisplatin (P) 20 mg/m2 intravenous (i.v.) days 1-5, vinblastine (V) 0.15 mg/kg i.v. days 1-2 and bleomycin (B) 30 mg i.v. on day 2, and 15 mg on day 15, for 28 days. 38 eligible patients were entered in this trial. Prior to PVB all patients underwent surgery and 13 received postoperative radio- or other prior chemotherapy. The median number of PVB cycles was 4 in both groups. In the group of 25 patients who had received prior surgery only, 7 and 6 patients had complete and partial responses, respectively (response rate: 52%, 95% confidence limits: 31.3-72.2%). At a median follow-up of 39 months, 6 patients were alive with no evidence of disease, 6 were alive with disease, 12 died due to malignant disease and 1 died due to intercurrent disease. The median time to progression was 13.9 months. The median survival was 25.4 months. 3-year survival was 49% (95% confidence limits: 29-69%). In the group of 13 patients who had previously received postoperative radio- or chemotherapy, 5 complete and 5 partial responses were observed on PVB (response rate: 77%, 95% confidence limit: 46.2-95.0%). At a median follow-up of 50 months, 6 patients were still alive, only 1 without evidence of disease, 6 died due to malignant disease and 1 died due to intercurrent disease. The median time to progression was 19.3 months. The median duration of survival was 41.1 months. Accompanying toxicity was distributed in a similar pattern for both groups. Severe toxicity was mainly documented as haematological toxicity, nausea/vomiting and alopecia. Furthermore cisplatin-related peripheral neurotoxicity and mild/moderate signs of bleomycin-related pulmonary toxicity were observed. The present data confirm the therapeutic activity of the PVB regimen in advanced/recurrent GCTs. The response rate was moderately high compared with previous studies, with a median duration of response of 20 months for both groups.