Mouse monoclonal anti-idiotype antibodies have been used to treat two patients with progressive advanced B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Transient falls in the level of circulating malignant cells and idiotypic immunoglobulin were produced, and free unbound monoclonal antibody was identified in the serum. Homing of the antibodies to tumor cells in the blood, bone marrow, ascites, and lymph nodes was demonstrated in both patients. Although large amounts of anti-idiotype antibody were given (3.8 g and 5.8 g), no toxic effects were seen, and no antibodies to the foreign mouse protein were made. There was no modulation of the antigen from the tumor cells and no indication of immunoselection. There was evidence of large-scale tumor cell destruction, but only a modest reduction in tumor size. The killing of the tumor cells was mediated by the reticuloendothelial system and not by complement.

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