The importance of chemotherapy for cure of cancer is increasing, especially with its use as adjuvants to local therapy. Furthermore, in advanced disease, when the tumour has disseminated from its place of origin, chemotherapy has an expanding role in efforts to relieve cancer-related symptoms and to prolong life. Despite its shortcomings, chemotherapy, therefore, is an important treatment modality in oncology and will probably remain so for considerable time. This presentation, within the frame of The Swedish Council on Technology Assessment in Health Care (SBU) project to review cancer chemotherapy, aims to provide a brief overview of the field cancer chemotherapy. It includes a historical perspective of cancer chemotherapy, some practical aspects and theoretical considerations with respect to the action of, resistance to and metabolism of these drugs. Furthermore, some outlooks into the nearest future with respect to ways to improve and develop cancer chemotherapy are provided as well as some aspects of chemotherapy from an employee-protection perspective.