Fifty-six patients with ovarian cancer (three stage IC, nine stage II, 33 stage III and II stage IV) were treated with carboplatin 350 mg m−2 i.v. day 1 and chlorambucil orally 0.15 mg kgm−1 days 1–7 inclusive, repeated every 28 days for eight courses. The regimen was well tolerated and was virtually free of nephro- and neurotoxicity. Grade III or IV hematology toxicity occurred in 18 patients but only 31 or 330 courses administered were delayed. Of 40 assessable patients eight achieved a clinical/radiologic complete response and 17 a clinical/radiologic partial response. Actuarial survival at 50 months was 65% for stage II patients, 27% for stage III patients and no stage IV patients survived beyond 20 months. Forty-two per cent of patients with residual disease less 2 cm survived 50 months, compared with 44% of patients with moderate volume (2–5 cm) residual disease and 6% of patients with bulk residual disease. This is an active, well tolerated regimen. However, only patients with small volume residual disease have a significant chance of prolonged survival.