Six patients were treated for metastatic chemodectoma at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center from 1971 through 1988. Four patients' primary tumors arose in the cervical region, and two arose in the retroperitoneum. Four patients received a total of eight different chemotherapeutic regimens, including cisplatin, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and dacarbazine. Metastatic sites treated included bone, liver, lung, and retroperitoneum. No patient had a response to chemotherapy. Four patients received a total of nine courses of radiation therapy for palliation of bone metastases. Pain relief was complete in eight patients and partial in one. One patient was irradiated for a mass in the left psoas muscle, with stabilization of disease for 6 months after treatment. One patient was irradiated for epidural compression at T6, with resolution of neurologic symptoms and 50% clearing of the spinal block on follow-up myelogram. Recurrence or progression of disease in a previously irradiated site occurred in one patient 2 years after treatment. One patient was lost to follow-up 3 months after radiation therapy for epidural compression. The other five patients died of widespread metastatic disease 6 months to 9 years after initial treatment for their metastatic disease.