Phase-I trials traditionally involve dose-escalation to determine the maximal tolerated dose (MTD). With conventional chemotherapy, efficacy is generally deemed to be dose-dependent, but the same may not be applicable to molecularly targeted agents (MTAs). We analysed consecutive patients included in Phase-I trials at the Royal Marsden Hospital from 5 January 2005 to 6 June 2006. We considered only trials of monotherapy MTAs in which the MTD was defined. Three patient cohorts (A, B, and C) were identified according to the dose received as a percentage of the final trial MTD (0-33%, 34-65%, >66%). Potential efficacy was assessed using the non-progression rate (NPR), that is, complete/partial response or stable disease for at least 3 months by RECIST. A total of 135 patients having progressive disease before enrolment were analysed from 15 eligible trials. Median age was 57 years (20-86); male : female ratio was 1.8 : 1. Cohort A, B, and C included 28 (21%), 22 (16%), and 85 (63%) patients; NPR at 3 and 6 months was 21% and 11% (A), 50% and 27% (B), 31% and 14% (C), respectively, P=0.9. Median duration of non-progression (17 weeks; 95% CI=13-22) was not correlated with the MTD level, P=0.9. Our analysis suggests that the potential for clinical benefit is not confined to patients treated at doses close to the MTD in Phase-I trials of MTAs.