Hexadecylphosphocholine (He-PC) is a new compound synthesized according to the minimal structural requirements deducted from studies with other ether lipids. In vitro studies on He-PC revealed remarkable antineoplastic activity on HL60, U937, Raji and K562 leukemia cell lines. In addition, He-PC, applied orally, showed a superior effect in the treatment of dimethylbenzanthracene-induced rat mammary carcinomas when compared to intravenously administered cyclophosphamide. After oral application He-PC was well absorbed from the intestine and metabolized in the liver by phospholipases C and D. During a 5-week treatment no hematotoxic effects were detected. In a clinical pilot study on breast cancer patients with widespread skin involvement, topically applied He-PC showed skin tumor regressions without local or systemic side effects.