While the acute toxicity of cisplatin on renal function is well described, the long-term effects have received little attention in the medical literature. In an effort to examine this important issue, we evaluated the renal function of a group of 60 women with ovarian cancer who received a second-line cisplatin-based chemotherapy program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center longer than 6 months following the completion of their initial cisplatin-based chemotherapeutic regimen. These patients had not received any cisplatin for a median of 19 months (range, 6-57 months) prior to beginning the second-line program. Only 4 patients (7%) had a serum creatinine value greater than 1.3 mg/dl (upper limit of normal in our laboratory) at the time of initiation of the second-line program. In each case, the serum creatinine was less than or equal to 1.6 mg/dl. An additional 6 patients (10%) had a greater than 50% increase in serum creatinine above the initial baseline value prior to any treatment, but were still within the normal range. Following second-line cisplatin therapy, only 1 of the 60 patients (2%) experienced a serum creatinine rise to greater than 2.0 mg/dl. We conclude that a limited number of patients with ovarian cancer who are long-term survivors following cisplatin-based chemotherapy exhibit evidence of a mild persistent compromise of renal function and, in general, second-line cisplatin can be administered to previously treated patients without the development of serious renal dysfunction.