Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare tumour with a poor prognosis. Cisplatin is the most widely tested cytotoxic agent in this disease. A total of 18 patients with advanced ACC were enrolled. Cytotoxic therapy consisted of etoposide (VP16) (100 mg m(-2) day(-1) on days 1-3) and cisplatin (100 mg m(-2) day(-1) on day 1) every 4 weeks. Mitotane treatment was maintained during chemotherapy in 14 patients. A complete response was observed in three cases and a partial response in three cases, giving an overall response rate of 33%. Tumour response was observed in three of the six patients with progressive disease during treatment with mitotane given at an effective dosage, as shown by serum levels >14 mg l(-1). Toxic effects were as expected and were non-life-threatening; no treatment interruption was required.