Flavone acetic acid (FAA) is a synthetic flavonoid with dramatic pre-clinical anti-tumour activity involving a vascular component in its mechanism but no clinical effects have been seen to date. As FAA also has immunomodulatory activity, immunological factors might explain differences in activity between mouse and man. This study examines the influence of host immune status on the anti-tumour activity of FAA. Two human colon tumour xenografts (COBA, HT-29) fail to respond to FAA in nude mice. The lack of activity of FAA against HT-29 xenografts cannot be explained on the basis of limited drug bioavailability as achievable plasma, and tumour levels of FAA are similar to those seen in sensitive murine colon tumours. The immune status of the host also influences the activity of FAA against two transplantable tumours of the mouse colon. Both these tumours are highly responsive to FAA in their normal NMRI hosts, but neither tumours exhibited significant growth delay in thymectomised NMRI or nude hosts. Histological examination of treated tumours revealed significant areas of haemorrhagic necrosis in all three hosts. These data suggest a clear immunological component in the mechanism of action of FAA which is separate from the previously described haemorrhagic necrosis.