Donor leukocyte infusions (DLI) were used to treat 2 patients with AML who relapsed within 4 months of treatment with partially mismatched related donor (PMRD) BMT representing 1-2 HLA-mismatches. No other form of cytoreductive therapy was given to these patients. Both patients developed GVHD (grade II-III) following DLI requiring steroid therapy. One of these patients went into complete remission following development of GVHD and immunophenotypic analysis of peripheral blood showed increased numbers of CD3+/CD8+ T cells, CD56+/CD8+ lymphokine activated killer (LAK) cells and CD16+/CD56+ natural killer (NK) cells expressing intermediate affinity IL-2 receptor P75. Unfortunately, the response was of short duration and the patient relapsed 8 weeks later ultimately resulting in death. The second patient did not show any response to DLI and died of progressive leukemia in conjunction with active GVHD. We conclude that DLI from PMRD carries a high risk for the development of GVHD and may have an anti-leukemia effect for relapsed AML. The anti-leukemic effect from PMRD DLI may be mediated by cytotoxic T lymphocytes, LAK cells and NK cells.