We prepared small unilamellar liposomes derivatised with single chain antibody fragments specific for the ED-B domain of B-fibronectin. This extracellular matrix associated protein is expressed around newly forming blood vessels in the vicinity of many types of tumours. The single chain antibody fragments were functionalised by introduction of C-terminal cysteines and linked to liposomes via maleimide groups located at the terminal ends of poly(ethylene glycol) modified phospholipids. The properties of these anti-ED-B single chain antibody fragments-liposomes were analysed in vitro on ED-B fibronectin expressing Caco-2 cells and in vivo by studying their biodistribution and their therapeutic potential in mice bearing subcutanous F9 teratocarcinoma tumours. Radioactively labelled ((114m)Indium) single chain antibody fragments-liposomes accumulated in the tumours at 2-3-fold higher concentrations during the first 2 h after i.v. injection compared to unmodified liposomes. After 6-24 h both liposome types were found in similar amounts (8-10% injected dose g(-1)) in the tumours. Animals treated i.v. with single chain antibody fragments-liposomes containing the new cytotoxic agent 2'-deoxy-5-fluorouridylyl-N(4)-octadecyl-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosylcytosine (30 mg kg(-1) per dose, five times every 24 h) showed a reduction of tumour growth by 62-90% determined on days 5 and 8, respectively, compared to animals receiving control liposomes. Histological analysis revealed a marked reduction of F9 tumour cells and excessive deposition of fibronectin in the extracellular matrix after treatment with single chain antibody fragments-2-dioxy-5-fluorouridylyl-N(4)-octadecyl-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosylcytosine-liposomes. Single chain antibody fragments-liposomes targeted to ED-B fibronectin positive tumours therefore represent a promising and versatile novel drug delivery system for the treatment of tumours.