Advanced T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in adults has been found to have a poor outlook with conventional chemotherapy. To see if this extends to patients treated with high dose therapy and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, we reviewed the results with this treatment approach at our institution. From October, 1983, to May, 1988, 41 patients who underwent high-dose therapy and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant for recurrent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma were re- biopsied before transplantation to determine their immunophenotype. Seventeen of these patients were found to have a T-cell lymphoma, and 24 had a B-cell lymphoma. All patients were included in the intermediate or high grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma categories, and none were histologically transformed from a low grade lymphoma. Analysis of the response to autologous transplantation in these two patient populations revealed a slightly better complete response rate for patients with T-cell lymphoma (ie, 59% versus 42%, P = NS). The actuarial 2-year survival was 35% in the T-cell group compared with 30% in the B-cell group (P = NS). The 2-year disease-free survival was 28% for the T-cell and 17% for the B-cell patients. Our results with autologous transplantation for salvage therapy revealed equivalent long- term survival and disease-free survival in both relapsed T- and B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.