Sixteen female breast cancer patients who had been diagnosed (3.0 +/- 1.2 years previous to the study) and undergone surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation treatment were randomly assigned to exercise and nonexercise groups. Pre- and post-study measurements were taken for aerobic performance, leg strength, and concentrations of circulating lymphocyte subsets and natural killer cell cytotoxic activity (NKCA). Exercise training consisted of 60 minutes of supervised weight training and aerobic activity three times each week for eight weeks. Although subjects in the exercise groups demonstrated some modest improvement in the various aerobic and strength tests, NKCA and concentrations of circulating T and NK cells were not significantly altered relative to the nonexercise group. This study suggests that moderate exercise over an eight-week period has no significant effect on the function of in vitro natural killer cells in breast cancer patients.