The objective of this paper was to determine the time course and extent of platinum uptake into human malignant glioma tissue. An intraoperative, intravenous infusion of carboplatin was given to nine patients (seven glioblastoma and two anaplastic glioma) undergoing tumour excision. Carboplatin dosage was calculated individually to achieve a target systemic free carboplatin exposure. Tumour and peritumoural tissue was harvested at timed intervals following carboplatin administration. Plasma and tumour platinum concentrations were measured by graphite furnace flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Histological examination was also performed on a piece of each tissue sample. The mean carboplatin dose administered was 783, SEM 56 mg (range 485-903). Plasma pharmacokinetics showed a typical elimination curve. The mean peak plasma platinum concentration was 44, SEM 5 micrograms/ml (range 27-74). The mean total elemental plasma platinum area under the curve (AUC) was 9.0, SEM 1.4 mg/ml/min. Platinum was detected in 61 tumour samples, the mean peak concentration being 13 SEM 2 micrograms/g (range 5-21). Platinum was also detected in peritumoural brain and necrotic tumour. No correlation was apparent between the degree of necrosis in each tumour specimen and tumour platinum concentration. Platinum concentrations achieved in tumour were similar to levels that would be cytotoxic for glioma cells in vitro. The results of this study have implications for future studies using capillary permeability modifying agents as adjuncts to brain tumour chemotherapy.