Platinum based chemotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment in advanced ovarian carcinoma. Paclitaxel, an unique antimicrotubule agent has shown significant clinical activity in cisplatin-resistant tumours, indicating a lack of cross-resistance. To compare the in vitro sensitivity of ovarian carcinoma to cisplatin and paclitaxel, we tested 7 ovarian carcinoma cell lines with the 96-well plate clonogenic assay. Chemosensitivity was expressed as the IC50 value i.e. the drug concentration causing 50% inhibition of clonogenic survival. IC50 values were obtained from dose-response curves after fitting the data to the linear quadratic equation. The IC50 values for paclitacel were 0.4-3.4 nM, showing an 8.5-fold difference between various cell lines. The IC50 values for cisplatin were 0.1-0.45 ug ml-1 showing only a 4.5-fold difference. This variance is clearly smaller than the 25-fold difference observed with the same method in endometrial carcinoma cell lines (Rantanen et al, Br J Cancer 69: 482-86, 1994). In accordance with clinical findings, no cross-resistance or correlation between sensitivity to paclitaxel and cisplatin could be demonstrated.