A patient with irresectable primary non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the liver (histiocytic type, Rappaport classification) is presented. Systemic chemotherapy combined with local irradiation were successful in achieving a disease-free interval in a follow-up of 36 months. Review of the literature disclosed 19 other patients previously reported, with considerable variations in extent of disease at presentation. Criteria for the diagnosis of primary non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are proposed, and 11 patients met these criteria. Hepatic resection is advocated for localized tumour, while systemic chemotherapy and local irradiation in patients with irresectable tumours were found effective in achieving local and systemic control in a mean follow-up of 37 months.