Previous findings revealed that reticulum cell sarcoma (RCS) of SJL/J mice growth and survival depended on its ability to stimulate a potent host T cell response, by the means of a tumor-associated class II MHC molecule with IE-like specificities. Previously we presented evidence that the V beta 17a TCR+ clonotype of T cell was the predominant T cell involved in the host response to the tumor. We undertook our study to examine whether the depletion of the V beta 17a+ T cells, by the use of the anticlonotypic antibody, KJ23a, resulted in the inhibition of RCS tumor growth in vivo. We present evidence herein that supports this hypothesis. KJ23a-treated mice exhibited a complete reduction in T cells bearing the V beta 17a TCR. These mice exhibited a dramatic reduction in the in vitro proliferative response to RCS. Furthermore, the pretreatment of SJL/J mice with KJ23a mAb resulted in the complete loss in their ability to harbor RCS tumor. When tumor-bearing mice were treated with a single inoculum of KJ23a mAb within the first 7 days after the passage of tumor, the mice showed long term survival with diminishing tumor burden. These results demonstrated that the V beta 17a clonotype of T cells is required for the growth and maintenance of RCS tumor. Within the first 6 wk after tumor inoculation KJ23a-treated mice were capable of transferring tumor to naive syngeneic recipient mice despite the obvious lack of tumor growth in the treated donor animal. These results suggested that RCS tumors in the absence of V beta 17a+ T cells can persist for up to 6 wk in a state of "tumor dormancy." The predominant usage of the V beta 17a gene in RCS-specific T cells suggests that these T cells play an important role in the pathogenesis of RCS tumor. Furthermore, the positive therapeutic course taken by tumor-bearing mice upon the treatment with KJ23a mAb, demonstrates the enormous potential in anticlonotypic antibody therapy in the treatment of T cell-dependent tumors and diseases.