A procedure for the separation and quantitation of melphalan (L-PAM) and its hydrolysis products by high-performance liquid chromatography is described. The hydrolysis of L-PAM at 25 +/- 0.1 degrees and 41 +/- 0.1 degrees was studied between pH 3.0 and 9.0. The pattern of hydrolysis suggested that L-PAM decomposes via two consecutive pseudo first-order reactions. Pseudo first-order rate constants (k1) were determined for the disappearance of L-PAM at various pH values in buffered solutions and in a formulated product. At both temperatures L-PAM solutions were found to be most stable at low pH. Chloride ion was found to reduce the rate of hydrolysis.