Mixed bacterial vaccine (MBV) was employed in the multi-modality treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) during 1985-1988. Thirty eight patients undergoing palliative resection and cisplatin therapy (Series 1) and 48 patients with unresectable HCC who received hepatic artery ligation + intraarterial cisplatin infusion + radiotherapy (Series 2) were randomized to receive MBV or not. In series 1, the 1- and 2-year survival rates of MBV group and control were 75% vs 58% (P = 0.19) and 45% vs 39% (P = 0.23). In series 2, the 1-, 2- and 3-year survival rates were 59%, 41% and 41% for MBV group and 39%, 25% and 20% for the control, respectively (P1 = 0.07, P2 = 0.09, P3 = 0.07). In addition, MBV improved the "second look" resection rate to 40% as compared to 17% in the control (P greater than 0.05). MBV could also prevent such immunosuppression as decrease of macrophage activity caused by radiotherapy. We consider MBV a potential nonspecific immunostimulant in the multimodality treatment of HCC.