The significance of lymphadenectomy in surgery for various kinds of cancer has been widely debated, particularly in the gynecological field. The cell wall skeleton of Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG-CWS) has been used as an effective adjuvant for immunotherapy of a variety of cancer patients. Here we tested the immunological importance of lymph nodes in treatment of ovarian cancer patients with BCG-CWS. After surgical removal of tumors, 73 ovarian cancer patients were intracutaneously inoculated with BCG-CWS in the antigen-unloaded state in the upper arm at 4-week intervals at a dosage of 2-200 microg. Significant correlation of lymphadenectomy and reduced survival of patients was observed (stages I, II, III, IV; hazard ratio 2.38, 95% confidence interval 1.02-5.12, Cox regression model). Lymphadenectomy also compromised with induction of interferon-gamma. In view of the importance of the role of lymph nodes in stimulation of Toll-like receptors by BCG-CWS, it is suggested that lymph nodes should be kept as much as possible to preserve the patient's immunity against cancer. Application of these results to surgery for other cancers should be considered.