Serum interleukin 6 (IL-6) levels were measured in 75 patients with lung cancer and in 20 patients with benign lung diseases. IL-6 was detectable in 29 patients with lung cancer (39%), but was not detectable in any of the patients with benign lung diseases. Serum C-reactive protein levels and plasma fibrinogen levels were significantly higher and serum albumin concentration was significantly lower in lung cancer patients with detectable serum IL-6 levels than in those without detectable serum IL-6 levels and in patients with benign lung diseases. On the other hand, no significant difference was observed in blood platelet counts in these three groups. Moreover, serum IL-6 levels were not significantly different in lung cancer patients with or without clinically demonstrated distant metastasis. These results suggest that IL-6 may be a mediator of various reactions including an inflammatory response in lung cancer patients.