In a study of the biologic consequences of using monoclonal antibodies (mAb) with specificity for I-A for the elimination of an I-A-bearing B cell lymphoma, it was found that, despite the presence of I-A on a number of normal cell types and the propensity of anti-I-A to induce modulation of I-A and I-E on normal cells in vivo, a substantial effect on lymphoma growth could be measured in mAb-treated hosts. Unlike I-A on normal cells, tumor I-A failed to modulate in vivo, and 50% of animals could be cured of lymphoma by multiple doses of anti-I-A mAb. With a sensitive spleen tumor colonization assay, it was shown that neither T lymphocytes nor natural killer cells were involved in tumor elimination by anti-I-A mAb. In addition, C3 depletion only minimally affected the ability of anti-I-A to inhibit tumor growth, suggesting that complement-dependent lysis of tumor cells was not a major mechanism. Spleen cells from long term survivors of tumor challenge and mAb treatment functioned normally as antigen-presenting cells and in the recognition of alloantigens, and serum Ig levels were somewhat higher than in untreated mice; thus, such therapy can be carried out without compromising the immune reactivity of long term survivors.