Mopidamol (RA-233), a derivative of dipyridamole, is a phosphodiesterase inhibitor that has been shown previously to limit progression of malignancy in certain experimental animal models and in a pilot study in humans. RA-233 plus chemotherapy was compared with chemotherapy alone in a 5-year double-blind trial involving 719 patients with advanced carcinomas of the lung and of the colon. RA-233 treatment was associated with a statistically significant prolongation of survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (N-SCLC) limited to one hemithorax and with reduction in mean plasma fibrogen concentration. RA-233 was not toxic. The favorable effects on survival could not be explained by any factor other than the RA-233 treatment. In other tumor categories tested, no differences in survival were observed. These results suggest that RA-233 is useful in the treatment of N-SCLC of limited extent. They also suggest that therapeutic intervention aimed at modified intracellular pathways might constitute a novel investigative approach to the treatment of cancer. © 1988 Oxford University Press.