Three patients (aged 68-75 years) with histologically confirmed relapsed or refractory high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma were entered in this pilot study in which gemcitabine 800 mg/m2 was given as a 30 min i.v. infusion once a week for 3 weeks. One patient responded with complete remission and the other two with partial remission and stable disease for 2 and 3 months, respectively. Haematological toxicity was modest with grade 4 leucopenia (one cycle) and grade 4 thrombocytopenia (two cycles). The activity and mild toxicity seen with gemcitabine suggest that this agent should be further evaluated in the treatment of high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.