Abstract Yondelis™ (trabectidin, ET-743) is a marine natural product that has shown activity both in preclinical systems and in human malignancies such as soft tissue sarcoma and ovarian cancers that are resistant to previous chemotherapies. Molecular pharmacological studies indicated that Yondelis interacts with DNA and DNA repair systems in a way that is different from Cisplatin (DDP). The current study was designed to investigate the effects of the combination of Yondelis and DDP in human cancer cell lines and in xenografts derived from different tumours. The in vitro studies performed in human TE-671 rhabdomyosarcoma, Igrov-1 and 1A9 human ovarian carcinoma cell lines showed additive effects or slight synergism. Several human tumour xenografts, such as TE-671 rhabdomyosarcoma, SK-N-DX neuroblastoma, FADU head and neck, LX-1 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), H-187 melanoma and SKOV HOC 8 ovarian carcinoma, showed an antitumour effect for the combination that was greater than that of each drug when given as a single agent. No consistent changes in the activity were observed if Yondelis and DDP were given 1 h apart in sequence or simultaneously. An orthotopically transplanted human ovarian cancer HOC 8 growing in the peritoneal cavity of nude mice was used that is insensitive to Yondelis alone and only moderately sensitive to DDP alone. The combination of the two drugs produced a dramatic increase of survival lasting several months. In conclusion, the combination of Yondelis and DDP is synergistic in vivo (i.e. the antitumour effect is greater than that of each drug used as a single agent at the maximum tolerated dose (MTD)) in different human tumour xenografts. The two drugs can be combined at the MTD of each drug, thus indicating there are no overlapping toxicities. These results provide a rationale for testing the combination of Yondelis and DDP in the clinic.