The use of intraperitoneal drug delivery in the treatment of malignant disease confined to the peritoneal cavity is based on the theoretical potential for increased exposure of the tumour to antineoplastic agents leading to improved cytotoxicity. Phase I studies have explored the safety and pharmacokinetic advantage of the regional administration of several drugs, including cisplatin (10 times higher than systemic delivery) and paclitaxel (1000 times higher). Phase II trials of second-line intraperitoneal chemotherapy of ovarian cancer, generally with cisplatin, have shown the potential for patients to achieve surgically-documented complete responses. Randomised trials of second-line regional therapy in patients with ovarian cancer have yet to be conducted, although non-randomised single institution experience has suggested the potential for long-term disease-free survival with this strategy. By contrast, several well-planned randomised trials of first-line intraperitoneal chemotherapy of small-volume residual advanced ovarian cancer after primary surgical cytoreduction have reported a survival advantage with regional drug delivery. Although a rationale can be proposed for intraperitoneal antineoplastic drug delivery in non-ovarian malignant disease involving the peritoneal cavity, current data do not support the use of this strategy outside the confines of well-designed clinical trials.