Immunotherapy using dendritic cells has shown encouraging results in both haematological and non-haematological malignancies. In this study, monocyte-derived dendritic cells from patients with B-CLL were cultured for 6 days in the presence of IL-4 and GM-CSF. Autologous B-CLL T-cells were cultured alone or with B-CLL lysate-pulsed and unpulsed autologous dendritic cells. IFN-gamma secretion was assessed using ELISA. Cytotoxicity was assessed, after 21 days in culture and re-stimulation, using flow cytometry with and without blockade by anti-HLA class I, anti-HLA class II, anti-CD4, anti-CD8 and anti-TCRalphabeta monoclonal antibodies. B-CLL T cells stimulated with B-CLL lysate-pulsed autologous dendritic cells showed a significant (P = 0.0004) increase in IFN-gamma secretion and a significant (P = 0.0008) increase in specific cytotoxicity to autologous B-cell targets, but none to autologous T cell or B cell targets from healthy individuals. B-CLL T cells cultured with (non-B-CLL) B-cell lysate-pulsed B-CLL dendritic cells showed no significant response. Pulsing dendritic cells from healthy volunteers with an autologous (non-B-CLL) B-cell lysate did not stimulate proliferation, cytokine production or cytotoxicity by autologous T cells. Pulsing B-CLL dendritic cells with allogeneic B-CLL lysates and culturing with autologous T-cells elicited cytotoxicity against autologous B-CLL targets in some cases, but not in others. Cytotoxicity was significantly reduced by blocking with anti-HLA class II (P = 0.001), anti-TCRalphabeta (P = 0.03) and anti-CD4 (P = 0.046) antibodies. Phenotyping of the responding T-cell population demonstrated the majority to be CD4 positive. Our data demonstrate that HLA class II-restricted proliferative and cytotoxic T-cell responses to B-CLL can be generated using autologous dendritic cells pulsed with tumour cell lysate.