The EORTC Lung Cancer Cooperative Group undertook a phase II study of paclitaxel in 25 chemotherapy-naive patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Paclitaxel was given intravenously at a dose of 200 mg m-2 as a 3 h infusion every 3 weeks, after standard premedication with corticosteroids and antihistamines. This regimen was well tolerated, with < 4% of cycles resulting in severe toxicity. No major objective responses were observed and ten patients had stable disease. Median survival time was 39 weeks and the 1 year survival rate was 30%. In conclusion, paclitaxel at the dose and schedule investigated in this trial had no major activity in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma.