We conducted a phase II study utilizing interleukin-2 (IL-2) with lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells as therapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and Hodgkin's disease (HD). IL-2 was given at a fixed dose of 3 x 10(6) U/m2/day administered as a 24-h continuous intravenous infusion with LAK cells. Nineteen extensively treated patients were entered and 15 were evaluable. In general, this regimen was reasonably well tolerated with mild toxicities that were rapidly reversible. Patients who completed therapy did so without dose attenuations. However, discontinuation of therapy was necessary in four patients due to atypical toxicities that were not clearly dose related. Two patients (one NHL and one HD) had partial remissions of brief duration, four had disease stabilization, and seven had progressive disease. While there were not sufficient numbers to evaluate critically any NHL or HD subtype, this regimen does not appear to have significant activity for either disease.