Eight patients with cutaneous T cell lymphomas (CTCL) and five with various other T cell malignancies were treated with mouse monoclonal antibody (MoAb) T101. Doses of 1 to 500 mg were administered weekly over a two-hour period and resulted in one complete remission (convoluted T cell lymphoma) and one partial remission (CTCL). Remission duration was 6 weeks and 3 months, respectively. Frequent toxicities were pruritus, hives, flushing, and shortness of breath. Supraventricular arrhythmias and blood pressure instability were also observed. Complete targeting of peripheral blood T cells was achieved with 1 mg of MoAb in the nonleukemic patients (WBC less than 10,000/microL), and free, bioavailable antibody was present at the next (10-mg) dose level. Even higher doses resulted in substantial antibody excess that persisted for as long as 6 weeks. Serum concentrations of MoAb decreased with increasing number of peripheral blood T cells, and 25 to 35 mg of T101 were required for induction of antibody excess in leukemic patients. Excess antibody induced antigenic modulation, which was of consequence only if MoAb excess persisted to the next treatment. In the original treatment, the rapidly administered MoAb was able to target and remove peripheral blood T cells before the development of antigenic modulation. Antimouse antibodies developed in three patients. Their presence rendered further therapy ineffective and was associated with an anaphylactic reaction in one patient. Development of these antibodies could not be predicted by lymphoproliferative assays. In these assays, however, the T101 protein strongly stimulated the mononuclear cells of the patient who reached the only complete remission of this trial. Immunologic stimulation by the MoAb thus might have played a role in this patient's antitumor response. In summary, therapy with MoAb T101 was specific but only modestly efficacious. Rapid infusion of nonmodulating doses of antibody provided excellent targeting and removal of peripheral blood T cells and might be a valid approach in future trials with immunoconjugated T101.