In this study, we investigated the kinetics of oxaliplatin-DNA adduct formation in white blood cells of cancer patients in relation to efficacy as well as oxaliplatin-associated neurotoxicity. Thirty-seven patients with various solid tumours received 130 mg m(-2) oxaliplatin as a 2-h infusion. Oxaliplatin-DNA adduct levels were measured in the first cycle using adsorptive stripping voltammetry. Platinum concentrations were measured in ultrafiltrate and plasma using a validated flameless atomic absorption spectrometry method. DNA adduct levels showed a characteristic time course, but were not correlated to platinum pharmacokinetics and varied considerably among individuals. In patients showing tumour response, adduct levels after 24 and 48 h were significantly higher than in nonresponders. Oxaliplatin-induced neurotoxicity was more pronounced but was not significantly different in patients with high adduct levels. The potential of oxaliplatin-DNA adduct measurements as pharmacodynamic end point should be further investigated in future trials.