To discover whether tamoxifen is able to extend the survival of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, we included 80 patients with cirrhosis and advanced hepatocellular carcinoma in a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in order to analyze the influence of treatment with tamoxifen on survival. The patients were randomized to receive tamoxifen, 40 mg/day (group 1), or placebo (group 2). Both groups were similar in age, sex, etiology of cirrhosis, biochemical, hematologic and hormonal parameters, morphology of the tumor (nodular vs multinodular or massive), Child-Pugh's score, and Okuda's stage. The 1-year survival rate was similar in both groups (30% in group 1 vs 37.8% in group 2; p = 0.31). Tamoxifen treatment was well tolerated by the patients. We conclude that tamoxifen does not extend the survival of patients with cirrhosis and advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.