Dendritic cells (DC) are professional antigen-presenting cells that can be generated in vitro from CD34+ peripheral blood progenitor cells by recombinant cytokines. These cells have potential implications for immunotherapeutic approaches in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Physiologically, immature DC in the periphery capture and process antigens, then mature to interdigitating DC and migrate to lymphoid organs, where they activate lymphocytes. However, it is not known if DC generated in vitro have the capacity to traffic in vivo to the lymphoid tissues, such as spleen and lymph nodes. We have investigated whether human radiolabeled DC differentiated in vitro migrate and localize to lymphoid tissues after intravenous and intralymphatic injection. The distribution and localization of the DC were evaluated in five patients with malignant melanoma using serial whole-body gamma camera imaging. Intravenously infused DC demonstrated transient lung uptake followed by localization in the spleen and liver for at least 7 days. DC injected into a lymphatic vessel at the dorsal foot were rapidly detected in the draining lymph nodes where they remained for more than 24 h. These data suggest that DC differentiated in vitro localize preferentially to lymphoid tissue, where they could induce specific immune responses.