The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility of administering all chemotherapy pre-operatively to patients with resectable adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus or gastrooesophageal junction. 32 patients with potentially resectable adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus or gastrooesophageal junction were studied in a stepwise fashion in which combination chemotherapy with cisplatin, high-dose arabinoside and 5-fluorouracil was administered. In the first part, 15 patients were to receive three chemotherapy courses pre-operatively and two chemotherapy courses postoperatively. In the second part, the next 15 patients were to receive all five chemotherapy courses pre-operatively, provided there was an objective response after three courses. Endoscopic ultrasonography was also performed, when feasible, prior to chemotherapy and surgery, and in some patients sequentially between chemotherapy courses. All of the 14 assessable patients in the first group tolerated all three courses of pre-operative chemotherapy, and 86% of patients in this group completed all protocol chemotherapy. In the second group, 9 of 18 (50%) assessable patients tolerated all five courses of preoperative chemotherapy, and 100% of patients in this group received all protocol chemotherapy. The median number of chemotherapy courses for the entire group (32 patients) was five (range one to five). Forty-one per cent (13/32) of patients had a major response to chemotherapy. Sixty-nine per cent (or 76% of 29 patients taken to surgery) had a curative resection. One patient had a pathological complete response. The median survival time of 32 patients was 17 months (range 2-36+ months). 14 patients (37%) remain alive at a median follow-up time of 26+ months. There was a correlation between endoscopic ultrasonographic tumour and nodal stage and pathological tumour and nodal stages in 16 patients. The tumour stage correlation was higher (75%) than the nodal stage correlation (62%). Our data suggest that it is feasible to administer five courses of cisplatin-based chemotherapy to patients with potentially resectable adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus or gastrooesophageal junction. More effective chemotherapy regimens that might result in higher pathological complete response rates and acceptable toxic effects are needed.