ZD6474 selectively targets two key pathways in tumour growth by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-dependent tumour angiogenesis and epidermal growth factor (EGF)-dependent tumour cell proliferation and survival. Phase I clinical evaluation has shown ZD6474 to be generally well tolerated, with a pharmacokinetic profile appropriate for once-daily oral dosing. Phase II evaluation of ZD6474 at doses of 100-300 mg is ongoing in a range of patient types in single and combination regimens. These include three randomised studies of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. In one of these trials, the efficacy of ZD6474 monotherapy is being compared with that of the EGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib (Iressa) in previously treated patients. In the other two trials, the efficacy of ZD6474 in combination with certain standard chemotherapy regimens is being compared with that of standard chemotherapy alone: one with carboplatin and paclitaxel in previously untreated patients, and the second with docetaxel in patients who progressed after platinum-containing therapy. The advent of novel molecular-targeted agents such as ZD6474 has necessitated a re-evaluation of conventional cancer study design in order to optimise appraisal of this new generation of anticancer agents. The specific considerations of the ZD6474 clinical programme are discussed.