When Lactobacillus casei YIT 9018 (LC 9018) or Corynebacterium parvum, known to be immunomodulators possessing antitumor activity, were injected i.p. into BALB/c mice, peritoneal exudate macrophage Ia antigen detected by indirect immunofluorescence method was expressed on their cell surface, but it was not expressed following the injection of 10% proteose peptone, an inflammatory agent, or Lactobacillus fermentum YIT 0159 (LF 0159), which have no antitumor activity. The percentage and absolute number of Ia-positive peritoneal macrophages were maximum on the 7th day after the injection of LC 9018. Immunization by injection of Meth A fibrosarcoma cells treated with mitomycin C (MMC-Meth A) 7 days after LC 9018 injection suppressed the growth of Meth A implanted i.p. 14 days after MMC-Meth A injection. A shorter interval between the injections of LC 9018 and MMC-Meth A did not allow suppression of Meth A growth. These results showed that the increase in Ia-positive macrophages in the peritoneal cavity coincided with the effective interval for induction of the antitumor activity by LC 9018. The antitumor activity induced by injections of LC 9018 and MMC-Meth A did not affect the growth of RL male 1 leukemic cells, syngeneic to BALB/c mice. Neutralization (Winn type) tests showed that peritoneal T lymphocytes possessed tumor cytotoxicity and that the antitumor capacity was reduced by in vivo treatment with anti I-Ad monoclonal antibody simultaneously with and 1 day prior to MMC-Meth A injection. These results indicate that LC 9018-induced Ia-positive macrophages, which first encounter a tumor antigen in the peritoneal cavity, play an important role in the in vivo induction of tumor specific T cell-mediated antitumor immunity.