We investigated the potential for additive therapy for malignancy using an anti-human T-cell monoclonal antibody, T101, and the chemotherapy agent doxorubicin (DOX). We compared the efficacy of T101 alone, DOX alone, T101 and DOX covalently linked to dextran to form an immunoconjugate, T101 plus DOX mixed together and injected, T101 and DOX injected separately, and nonspecific murine IgG2A plus DOX mixed together. Inhibition of [3H]thymidine was examined in vitro, and the clinical efficacy of each treatment was tested on human T-cell tumors growing in athymic mice. In vitro experiments confirmed retention of immunoreactivity and cytotoxicity by the immunoconjugate, but it was not superior to DOX alone. In efficacy experiments, all therapeutic arms were superior to placebo treatment (P less than 0.05). However, the best results in the animal tumor model were obtained with T101 mixed with DOX, perhaps because of formation of weak complexes via hydrophobic bonds. This mixture was superior to all other treatments, both by growth curve analysis (P less than 0.05) and by analysis of complete regression of tumor (P less than 0.01). T101 mixed with DOX was superior to a mixture of nonspecific mouse immunoglobulin and DOX and superior to a combination of T101 injected i.v. and DOX injected i.p. The antitumor effect of T101 mixed with DOX was blocked by premodulating the target antigen with T101. These data suggest that further exploration into monoclonal antibody-anthracycline complexes is warranted.