Although the benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy has been clearly established in patients with Dukes' C colon cancer, such benefit has been questioned in patients with Dukes' B disease. To determine whether patients with Dukes' B disease benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy and to evaluate the magnitude of the benefit, compared with that observed in Dukes' C patients, we examined the relative efficacy of adjuvant chemotherapy according to Dukes' stage in four sequential National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project trials (C-01, C-02, C-03, and C-04) that compared different adjuvant chemotherapy regimens with each other or with no adjuvant treatment. The four trials included Dukes' B and C patients and were conducted between 1977 and 1990. The eligibility criteria and follow-up requirements were similar for all four trials. Protocol C-01 compared adjuvant semustine, vincristine, and fluorouracil (5-FU) (MOF regimen) with operation alone. Protocol C-02 compared the perioperative administration of a portal venous infusion of 5-FU with operation alone. Protocol C-03 compared adjuvant 5-FU and leucovorin (LV) with adjuvant MOF. Protocol C-04 compared adjuvant 5-FU and LV with 5-FU and levamisole (LEV) and with the combination of 5-FU, LV, and LEV. Forty-one percent of the patients included in these four trials had resected Dukes' B tumors. In all four studies, the overall, disease-free, and recurrence-free survival improvement noted for all patients was evident in both Dukes' B and Dukes' C patients. When the relative efficacy of chemotherapy was examined, there was always an observed reduction in mortality, recurrence, or disease-free survival event, irrespective of Dukes' stage, and in most instances, the reduction was as great or greater for Dukes' B patients as for Dukes' C patients. When data from all four trials were examined in a combined analysis, the mortality reduction was 30% for Dukes' B patients versus 18% for Dukes' C patients. The mortality reduction in Dukes' B patients occurred irrespective of the presence or absence of adverse prognostic factors. Patients with Dukes' B colon cancer benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy and should be presented with this treatment option. Regardless of the presence or absence of other clinical prognostic factors, Dukes' B patients seem to benefit from chemotherapy administration.