An N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide (HPMA) copolymer carrier containing doxorubicin and human immunoglobulin as an actively/passively targeting moiety was used in four patients with generalized breast cancer resistant to standard cytotoxic chemotherapy. The dose and time schedule were deduced from a Phase I clinical trial in which doxorubicin bound to HPMA copolymer carrier (PK1) was tested. It was confirmed that the Dox-HPMA-HuIg conjugate is stable and doxorubicin remains in the peripheral blood with a small amount also in the urine, mostly in its polymer-bound form. More than 116 biochemical, immunological and hematological parameters were determined for blood samples taken from patients 24 h, 48 h, 72 h and 1 to 11 weeks after treatment. Depending on the patient, some parameters decreased permanently or temporarily to the normal level (CRP, C3, CA 72-4, beta(2)-microglobulin, ferritin, CEA, CA 125, CD4, CD8, CE19, CD16(+)56(+), leu, ery) and some moved markedly towards physiological values (AST, ALT, ALP, GMT, CA 15-3, NSE, AFP). While the number of peripheral blood reticulocytes was significantly decreased after treatment with the classical free drug, their number was not affected or was even elevated after treatment with Dox-HPMA-HuIg. Increased absolute numbers of CD16(+)56(+) and CD4(+) cells in the peripheral blood and activation of NK and LAK cells in all patients support data obtained in experimental animals, pointing to a dual, i.e. cytostatic and immunomobilizing character of Dox-HPMA conjugates containing a targeting immunoglobulin moiety.