A reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatographic method has been developed and validated for the quantification of the novel anticancer drug Ecteinascidin 743 in human plasma. The sample pretreatment of the plasma samples involved a solid-phase extraction (SPE) on cyano columns. Propyl-p-hydroxybenzoate was added after the sample pretreatment to correct for variability in injection volumes. The separation was performed on a Zorbax SB-C18 column (75x4.6 mm I.D., particle size 3.5 microm) with acetonitrile-25 mM phosphate buffer, pH 5.0 (70:30, v/v) as the mobile phase. The flow-rate was 1.0 ml/min and the eluent was monitored at 210 nm. The accuracies and precisions of the assay fall within +/-15% for all quality control samples and within +/-20% for the lower limit of quantitation, which was 1.0 ng/ml using 500 microl of plasma. The overall recovery of the sample pretreatment procedure for Ecteinascidin 743 was 87.0+/-5.9%. The drug was found to be stable in human plasma at -30 degrees C for at least 2 months. At room temperature Ecteinascidin 743 was stable in human plasma for 5 h at most.