Cefotiam (CTM) is a new cephalosporin with a broad spectrum of activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative microorganisms. Cephalosporins are widely used for prophylaxis of infections in patients undergoing thoracotomy. Augmentation by serrapeptase on tissue permeation of CTM was examined in 35 thoracotomy patients with lung cancer. The subjects were divided into two groups according to the method of the administration of CTM. Group I consisted of 17 subjects, each of whom received a single dose of 2 g of CTM alone by an instillation for 30 minutes. Group II consisted of 18 subjects, each of whom received a combination of CTM and serrapeptase; serrapeptase was given 2 tablets (10 mg) each time for three times/day until the day before surgery, and then CTM was administered by the same procedure. The following results were obtained: Individual difference was observed for the permeation of CTM into tissues. Pathologic differences also affected the permeation. Nevertheless, the CTM levels in pulmonary tissues reached about a half of those in the blood in both the single dose group and the combination group, hence sufficient concentrations exceeding MIC80 for main microorganisms that caused infections in the lung were obtained. The concentrations of CTM in inflammatory tissues have showed lower levels than those of normal tissues in both CTM single dose and the combination groups. Decrease of blood flow volume may have contributed to the reduction in levels of CTM in the inflammatory tissues. The ratio of the concentration of the drug in pulmonary tissues to that in the blood was 29.1 +/- 2.5% in the single dose group, and 44.2 +/- 6.0% in the combination group, the latter showing quite a significant increase (P less than 0.05). Combined administrations of CTM and serrapeptase deserves more trials in the case when surgical treatments of the lung are performed. An antiinflammatory effect of serrapeptase in the respiratory system is expected, and in addition, the combined use of CTM and serrapeptase should stimulate permeation of the antibiotic into tissues.