In this study we investigated whether the flavonoid silybin and its bioavailable derivative IdB 1016 (silipide) could enhance the antitumour activity of cisplatin (CDDP), the most commonly used drug in the treatment of gynaecological malignancies. Silybin alone up to 10 (M was unable to produce a relevant in vitro growth inhibition of A2780 cells, whereas CDDP was effective, giving an IC50 value of 0.5+/-0.14 microM. When silybin was combined with CDDP, a dose-dependent and statistically significant (p<0.05) increase of the CDDP activity was noticed, yielding IC50 values of 0.35+/-0.07 and 0.263+/-0.004 microM at silybin concentrations of 1 and 10 microM, respectively. The same trend was observed for in vivo experiments. IdB 1016 alone (1350 mg/kg) did not significantly affect tumour growth, whereas CDDP at the Maximum Tolerated Dose (12 mg/kg) produced a tumour weight inhibition (TWI%) of 80% and a log10 cell kill (LCK) of 0.7. Administration of both drugs resulted in a potentiation of the antitumour activity and TWI% and LCK increased to 90% and 1, respectively. Interestingly, mice receiving the combination recovered earlier in terms of body weight loss as compared to CDDP-treated mice. CDDP at 6 mg/kg yielded TWI of 44% and LCK of 0. The concomitant administration of IdB 1016 (1800 mg/kg) enhanced CDDP anti-tumour activity, with 68% TWI and 0.6 LCK. Finally, an antiangiogenic effect of IdB 1016 in an in vivo experimental model was demonstrated. Median haemoglobin value for the Matrigel from the vehicle-treated controls was 2.43 versus a value of 0.321 for the IdB 1016-treated animals.