Many in vitro techniques have been developed for removing cancer cells from the marrow of patients who are to undergo autologous bone marrow transplantation (ABMT). These purging techniques can be classified as immunological or pharmacological. The immunomagnetic technique has been widely used in neuroblastoma patients. It depends on an interaction between target neuroblastoma cells in the marrow and a complex of specific monoclonal antibodies and magnetized microspheres, the target cells being selectively removed by passage through a magnetic field. Laboratory studies with neuroblastoma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells have shown the high efficiency of this technique in selectively removing cancer cells while retaining adequate numbers of normal hematopoietic cells for subsequent reinfusion into the patient. Clinical studies in several hundred neuroblastoma patients, as well as small numbers of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, breast cancer, and myeloma patients, suggest that this is a clinically safe and effective technique. However, no clinical trial has been conducted comparing ABMT with and without in vitro marrow purging. Until such time, we will regard immunomagnetic purging as "standard of care" for neuroblastoma patients receiving ABMT.