A total of 29 patients with acute leukaemia were prospectively randomized before starting cytostatic treatment to be nourished either with intensified oral nutrition (intervention group) or ad libitum nutritional intake during the whole tumour therapy (median 22 weeks). All received menus of free choice (daily offer of 1.0-2.0 g protein, 30-50 kcal kg-1 body weight (BW)). Beyond this, intervention patients received nutrition education, daily visits by the dietician and record of food intake, as well as a weekly assessment of subjective well-being (linear analogue self assessment 'LASA'). From the LASA items, the factors: 'malaise', 'psychological distress', 'therapy side-effects' were extracted by principal component analysis, and correlated to nutrient intake and nutritional status. At the end of antineoplastic induction therapy, after continuous hospitalization of 10 weeks (median), 31.3% of the controls had regained their initial nutritional status, and 68.8% of the intervention group. Mean daily energy intake was 23.2 kcal kg-1 BW during weeks with weight loss (constant weight: 30.9, weight gain: 39.3 kcal kg-1 BW). Nutritional behaviour correlated with subjective well-being, low intake with complaints of tumour treatment side effects and weight loss with malaise.