To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of autologous cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells in elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were isolated from nine elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. PBMCs were augmented by priming with interferon gamma (IFN-γ) followed by IL-2 and monoclonal antibody (mAb) against CD3. Autologous CIK cells (range 5 × 10(9)-1 × 10(10)) were then infused back to individual patients; infusion was repeated every 4 weeks for 32 weeks (eight cycles). Patients were assessed for changes in lymphocyte subgroup, tumor-related biological parameters, imaging characteristics, the condition of remission, quality of life (QOL), and survival. Prior to CIK infusion, two patients were in complete remission and seven patients were in partial remission. After autologous CIK cell transfusions, the proportion of CD3+, CD3+CD8+, and CD3+CD56+ cells were significantly increased compared with baseline (P < 0.05); whereas serum levels of β2-microglobulin and LDH were significantly decreased (P < 0.05). The lymphoma symptoms were reduced and QOL was improved (P < 0.05) in all patients. All patients achieved complete remission at study endpoint. No adverse reactions were reported. Autologous CIK cell immunotherapy is safe and efficacious for the treatment of elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.