From June 1977 to June 1987 74 patients were treated with cisplatin for recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix as the primary chemotherapeutic agent. Sixty-eight patients were evaluable for response or survival. Patients with disease confined to the chest had a 53% complete response rate with an overall response rate of 73%. Patients with localized pelvic recurrences or persistence demonstrated no complete responses and a 21% overall response rate. Isolated chest metastases are more likely to respond to cisplatin than pelvic recurrences (P = 0.0007); however, location of recurrence did not significantly alter survival (mean 22.7 months versus 14.1 months; P = 0.24.). Concomitant disease in other locations reduced the likelihood of response in the chest (P less than 0.05) by virtue of lack of response in those other sites. Lesion size, clinical stage, patient age, and duration from primary treatment to recurrence were not of significance with regard to response or survival. When evaluating response to chemotherapy in recurrent cervical cancer, location of metastasis and effect on survival must be considered.