In a phase I study of weekly administered cisplatin combined with oral etoposide, we observed a partial response in 4 out of 11 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Subsequently, we performed a phase II study to investigate the activity of this combination as first-line treatment in this disease. Fourteen patients with metastatic colorectal cancer were enrolled in this study. Treatment consisted of cisplatin, administered in 3% sodium chloride, at a dose of 70 mg m-2 on days 1, 8 and 15 and days 29, 36 and 43 combined with oral etoposide 50 mg absolute dose daily on days 1-15 of both courses. Patients with stable disease or better continued treatment with etoposide 50 mg m-2 orally on days 1-21 every 28 days. A partial response was observed in two patients with liver metastases (14%; 95% confidence limits 2-42%) for 30 and 32 weeks. Five patients had stable disease. Toxicity consisted mainly of anaemia, leucocytopenia, nausea and vomiting. Tinnitus was reported by six patients. The activity of the combination cisplatin-oral etoposide in the schedule is only minimal in metastatic colorectal cancer.