Background: In the multicenter European Intergroup Cooperative Ewing's Sarcoma Studies, localized Ewing tumors of bone were treated by combination chemotherapy with surgery and/or radiotherapy. Patients with primary metastases (pm-pts) were treated in high risk protocols. Patients and methods: One hundred seventy-seven pm-pts were registered from January 1990 to December 1995, 171 were evaluable for survival analyses. Thirty-six pm- pts received myeloablative megatherapy with stem cell rescue following conventional treatment. Bilateral whole lung irradiation (WLI) was administered in 57 pm-pts with pulmonary involvement. Event-free survival (EFS) rates were estimated by Kaplan-Meier analysis. Prognostic factors were identified by log-rank statistics, Cox procedures and logistic regression. Results: Eighty-nine deaths were recorded by 1 February 1997, EFS four years after diagnosis for all 171 pm-pts was 0.27. EFS for isolated lung metastases was 0.34, for bone/bone marrow (BM) metastases, 0.28, and for combined lung plus bone/BM metastases, 0.14 (P < 0.005). WLI improved outcome in case of isolated pulmonary involvement (0.40 vs. 0.19, P < 0.05). In pm-pts with combined pulmonary/skeletal metastases, intensification by megatherapy and/or WLI improved EFS from 0.00 to 0.27 (P = 0.0001). Conclusions: EFS four years after diagnosis in patients with disseminated Ewing tumors is 0.27. Whole lung irradiation and megatherapy improve outcome in subgroups of patients with disseminated Ewing disease.