121 patients with 132 febrile episodes were randomised to ceftriaxone or latamoxef monotherapy in order to compare antibiotic efficacy in neutropenic patients treated with cytotoxic chemotherapy for solid tumours. In 80 evaluable episodes no significant differences were observed between the two groups with respect to efficacy and fatal failure rates. Of episodes treated with ceftriaxone, 67% showed a favourable clinical response vs. 61% in the latamoxef group. The clinical response rates in episodes with documented bacterial infections were 67 and 56% in the two treatment groups. In 18% of the episodes with documented initial infections the patients died of presumably uncontrolled infection. The convenient once daily dosage schedule combined with fewer severe adverse reactions favours the use of ceftriaxone instead of latamoxef. Although a relative high degree of response was seen, empirical antibiotic monotherapy apparently does not offer a sufficient antibacterial cover in infections in this type of patient with defective host immunity.