Aims to compare the efficacy and safety of lanoteplase, a single-bolus thrombolytic drug derived from alteplase tissue plasminogen activator, with the established accelerated alteplase regimen in patients presenting within 6 h of onset of ST elevation acute myocardial infarction. Methods and Results 15 078 patients were recruited from 855 hospitals worldwide and randomized in a 2:1 ratio to receive either lanoteplase 120 KU. kg-1 as a single intravenous bolus, or up to 100 mg accelerated alteplase given over 90 min. The primary end-point was all-cause mortality at 30 days and the hypothesis was that the two treatments would be equivalent. By 30 days, 6.61% of alteplase-treated patients and 6.75% lanoteplase-treated patients had died (relative risk 1.02). Total stroke occurred in 1.53% alteplase- and 1.87% lanoteplase-treated patients (ns); haemorrhagic stroke rates were 0.64% alteplase and 1.12% lanoteplase (P=0.004). The net clinical deficit of 30-day death or non-fatal disabling stroke was 7.0% and 7.2%, respectively. By 6 months, 8.8% of alteplase-treated patients and 8.7% of lanoteplase-treated patients had died. Conclusion Single-bolus weight-adjusted lanoteplase is an effective thrombolytic agent, equivalent to alteplase in terms of its impact on survival and with a comparable risk-benefit profile. The single-bolus regimen should shorten symptoms to treatment times and be especially convenient for emergency department or out-of-hospital administration. (C) 2000 The European Society of Cardiology.