The radiolabeled anti-T cell antibody T101 can be used for specific tumor localization, but unlabeled T101 produces limited cytotoxicity in patients. We thus studied the in vitro cytotoxic effects of T101 labeled with 125I, a radionuclide known for its short-range, high- linear-energy electrons. We showed that 125I-T101 could be readily prepared at high specific activity with high immunoreactivity. Human malignant T cell lines HUT 102, MOLT-4, and HUT 78 were found to differ in the number of T65 determinants (the antigen recognized by T101) and the sensitivity to external x-ray radiation, which were of significance for the cytotoxicity of 125I-T101 in vitro. The cytotoxic effects of 125I-T101 were also found to be dose dependent and increased with exposure time under frozen conditions. As controls, unlabeled T101 had no cytotoxic effect, while free Na 125I or the 125I-labeled irrelevant antibody 9.2.27 exerted minor cytotoxicity. In HUT 102 and MOLT-4, more than 3 logs' cell killing was achieved within four weeks. Because considerable cytotoxicity was demonstrated in vitro by 125I-T101 on T65- positive malignant cells, and because low-dose 111In-T101 can be used successfully for tumor localization, future trials using 125I-T101 at high specific radioactivity may improve therapeutic results in patients with T65-positive malignancies.