In 1986, a common cancer research strategy was developed in the European Institutions and implemented until 1991 in collaboration with all interested parties. In this context, the cancer target within the fourth medical and health research programme was granted a budget of ECU 18 million (1988-1991). An outline of the research projects undertaken in this period, concerning mostly basic and clinical oncology, has been published by the Commission in a hardbound volume "Towards Coordination of Cancer Research in Europe". The aim of the publication is to widely inform the scientific community about the Commission's efforts in the field of cancer research, as well as on the results of the concerted actions funded under the programme. It is hoped that a thorough evaluation of the concepts and results set out in this publication may allow for widespread consensus on a common approach in Europe to improving cancer prevention and cancer care in the shortest possible time, within the available budgets in health and research.