Twenty-one patients with disseminated malignant melanoma received recombinant tumor necrosis factor (TNF), 150 micrograms/m2 intravenously on days 1-5 every 2 weeks for four cycles and then every 3 weeks. Recombinant TNF produced no meaningful palliation. One patient (5%) attained an objective response of nodal, but not visceral, disease, which lasted 3 weeks. The median time to progression was 4 weeks. The median survival was 7.7 months. Ninety percent of patients developed mild to severe cytokine "flu." Ten percent developed significant hepatic toxicity (AST greater than 3 times normal). As a single agent, recombinant TNF is not likely to palliate disseminated malignant melanoma. However, combinations of recombinant TNF and cytotoxic or immune modulatory agents, particularly gamma interferon, may merit further investigation.