Adults with advanced, measurable, squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus were treated with a combination of cisplatin, bleomycin, and vindesine. Of 27 evaluable patients, seven (29%) had partial response, all occurring within the first two cycles of therapy. Of 13 patients receiving more than two cycles, only five completed the five planned cycles of therapy and did not progress while receiving the additional three cycles. Granulocytopenia was the major toxic effect observed, with 52% of the patients having neutrophil counts < 1000/mm3. Findings suspicious for bleomycin pulmonary toxicity were observed in two evaluable patients and bleomycin toxicity was pathologically confirmed in one ineligible patient. Based on the results of this study, this regimen cannot be recommended for routine use in patients with advanced esophageal cancer. The search for more effective and less toxic regimens should continue.