Docetaxel (Taxotere) is a new cytotoxic compound with a broad spectrum of activity in preclinical studies. This paper reports a phase II trial in patients with previously-treated small cell carcinoma of the lung. 34 patients received 100 mg/m2 of docetaxel in an intravenous infusion given over 1 h every 21 days. Seven partial responses were reported (25% of 28 evaluable patients). Duration of response was 3.5-12.6 months. Toxicities were predominantly neutropenia, alopecia and asthenia. Docetaxel is a new compound with activity in previously-treated patients with small cell lung cancer, and is suitable for evaluation in combination with other cytotoxic drugs active in this disease.