We conducted a phase I/II study to determine the efficacy, toxicity and maximum tolerable doses of CY, etoposide and cisplatin (CEP) in the management of patients with relapsed or refractory malignant lymphoma. Thirty patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin's disease (n = 10) or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (n = 20) received CY 6000 mg/m2, etoposide 900-2700 mg/m2 and cisplatin 150 mg/m2 followed by autologous BM or autologous peripheral blood stem cell rescue. The dose of etoposide was escalated after each 3 to 4 patients. The maximum tolerated dose of etoposide, when administered with the indicated doses of CY and cisplatin, was 2400 mg/m2. Three of the 30 patients (10%) died of treatment-related toxicity. Although 14 of the 30 patients had residual bulky and/or chemotherapy-resistant disease at the time of the transplant, 26 patients (87%) responded to this regimen, including 18 patients (60%) who achieved CR and 8 patients (27%) who achieved partial remission. Seven patients (23%) remain alive and free of progression at a median of 21 months post-transplant. Three additional patients relapsed after transplant but are enjoying prolonged disease-free survival at a median of 31 months post-transplant following additional post-transplant therapy. We conclude that high-dose CY, etoposide and cisplatin followed by autologous BM or peripheral blood stem cell rescue is an active and acceptably tolerated regimen in the treatment of relapsed or refractory malignant lymphoma.