Surgery alone is inadequate therapy for limited small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), resulting in < 5% long-term survival. Since 1976, we treated patients undergoing surgery for SCLC with adjuvant chemotherapy in an attempt to prolong survival and increase cure. Seventy-seven patients who underwent surgery as their primary treatment were identified, and of these 63 (46 male and 17 female) received chemotherapy. Fifteen patients had a pneumonectomy, 46 a lobectomy, and two had wedge resections. Six patients had positive microscopic resection margins. Pathologic staging showed tumor, node, metastasis (TNM) involvement as follows; T1N0, eight; T2N0 ten; T1N1 six; T2N1, 18; T1N2, five; T2N2, nine; T3N0, three; T3N1, one; and T3N2, three. All patients received cyclophosphamide, Adriamycin (doxorubicion; Adria Laboratories, Mississauga, Ontario), and vincristine; four also received etoposide (VP-16) and cisplatin, one VP-16, and four methotrexate, procarbazine, and lomustine (CCNU). Forty-nine patients received prophylactic cranial irradiation, and 35 received radiotherapy to the mediastinum and primary site. The overall median survival of the 63 patients in 83 weeks, and the projected 5-year survival is 31%. Patients with T1 or T2 tumors without nodal involvement had a median survival of 191 weeks, and projected 5-year survival of 48%. Stage II (T1N1, T2N1) and stage III (any T3 or T1-2N2) patients had median suvivals of 72 weeks and 65 weeks, and projected 5-year survivals of 24.5% and 24%, respectively. Thirty-three patients have relapsed and died of disease. Only two patients had an isolated relapse at the primary site. Seven other patients have died without recurrent disease. Adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery results in prolonged survival and cure for a significant number of patients with stage I SCLC,although nodal involvement at any level is associated with shorter survival.