Thirty-six consecutive patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma and chronic liver disease were randomly allocated to two groups: group I included 20 patients who were treated with 10 mg bid. tamoxifen and group II with 16 non-treated patients. The two groups were homogeneous according to clinical and analytical data. Survival curves in the tamoxifen-treated patients improved significantly when compared with the non-treated group (p = 0.01). Cumulative survival at the end of the first year was 48.5% in the treated patients and 9.1% in controls. Median survival was 261 days in the treated group vs. 172 in the non-treated group (p < 0.05). Complications of cirrhosis and worsening of the performance status test occurred less in the treated patients than in the controls, but not significantly so. Tamoxifen was well tolerated and no marked side effects were observed. In this series, tamoxifen improved survival in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.