Rhenium-186 (tin)hydroxyethylidene diphosphonate (HEDP) is a new radiopharmaceutical that localizes in skeletal metastases in patients with advanced cancer. A single intravenous administration of approximately 34 mCi (1,258 MBq) resulted in significant improvement in pain in 33 of 43 evaluable patients (77%) following the initial injection, and in 7 of 14 evaluable patients (50%) following a second treatment. Patients responding to treatment experienced an average decrease in pain of about 60%, with one in five treatments resulting in a complete resolution of pain. The only adverse clinical reaction was the occurrence after about 10% of the administered doses of a mild, transient increase in pain within a few days following injection. Statistically significant but clinically unimportant decreases in total white blood cell counts and total platelet counts were observed within the first 8 weeks following the injection; no other toxicity was apparent. Rhenium-186(Sn)HEDP is a useful new compound for the palliation of painful skeletal metastases.