We retrospectively investigated the efficacy and feasibility of individualised chemotherapy based on in vitro drug sensitivity testing (DST) for patients with glioblastoma multiforme. A total of 40 consecutive patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GM) were enrolled into this study between January 1995 and December 2000. The flow cytometric (FCM) detection of apoptosis was used to determine the in vitro sensitivity of tumour cells obtained at surgery to 30 different kinds of anticancer agents. From the results of FCM assay, an in vitro best regimen was prospectively selected. All the patients concurrently received the individualised chemotherapy with the in vitro best regimen and 60 Gy of conventional radiation therapy. Of the 31 assessable patients, eight patients (26%) achieved partial response, and 20 patients (65%) had stable disease. The median survival time was 20.5 months. The individualised chemotherapy based on in vitro DST was associated with favourable survival time for the patients with GM compared with the reported results of conventional therapy regimens. The present result suggests that the currently available anticancer agents could be effective against GM when used in individualised chemotherapy.