The three most active types of agents in the treatment of cancer of the ovary are platinum compounds (cisplatin or carboplatin), bifunctional alkylating agents (cyclophosphamide, melphalan, etc), and the recently developed natural product paclitaxel (Taxol; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Princeton, NJ). In an effort to improve long-term disease-free survival in patients with advanced disease, we have developed a three-drug regimen consisting of cisplatin, paclitaxel, and cyclophosphamide. Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor is given as bone marrow support using a flexible dosing approach. The molecular basis for this approach is founded in the positive molecular interactions between cisplatin and bifunctional alkylating agents and between paclitaxel and DNA-damaging agents. Cisplatin and cyclophosphamide damage DNA by two very different mechanisms; the respective importance of DNA strand "kinking" versus DNA strand "cross-linking" may explain the positive cell kill interaction between these two drugs. Paclitaxel appears to markedly slow the repair of DNA lesions caused by DNA-damaging agents, which may include radiation-induced lesions, cisplatin adducts, and cyclophosphamide cross-links. Clinical data to date from several different groups strongly suggest that these molecular interactions translate into positive clinical benefit in human ovarian cancer. Preliminary data from our clinical trial show that these three agents are well tolerated in the doses administered and that this combination shows exceptional promise as a possible therapeutic advance in this disease.