We evaluated recurrent NXS2 neuroblastoma tumors that developed following NK- or T-cell-mediated immunotherapy in tumor-bearing mice. Recurrent tumors developed following an NK-dependent antitumor response using a suboptimal dose of hu14.18-IL2, a humanized IL-2 immunocytokine targeted to the GD(2)-ganglioside. This treatment initially induced complete resolution of measurable tumor in the majority of mice, followed, however, by delayed tumor recurrence in some mice. These recurrent NXS2 tumors revealed markedly enhanced (> fivefold) MHC class I antigen expression when compared with NXS2 tumors growing in PBS-treated control mice. A similar level of enhanced MHC class I antigen-expression could be induced on NXS2 cells in vitro by culturing with interferon gamma, and was associated with reduced susceptibility to both NK-cell-mediated tumor cell lysis and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity in vitro. In contrast, Flt3-ligand treatment of NXS2-bearing mice induced a protective T-cell-dependent antitumor memory response. Recurrent NXS2 tumors that developed following Flt3-L therapy revealed a decreased expression of MHC class I antigens. While NXS2 tumors are susceptible to in vivo destruction following either hu14.18-IL2 or Flt3-ligand immunotherapies, these results suggest that some tumor cells may be selected to survive and progress by expressing either higher or lower levels of MHC class I antigen in order to resist either NK- or T-cell-mediated antitumor responses, respectively.