Lymphocytes isolated from the blood of TCC patients, like those of control patients, were capable of mediating spontaneous cell-mediated cytotoxicity against K-562 cells. When this natural cytotoxicity was analyzed with regard to the effector cell type it was found that in TCC patients the SLMC was mostly displayed by E-rosetting T lymphocytes, whereas compared with controls, a significant decline in the SLMC of the non-T lymphocytes was observed. The SLMC of the T lymphocytes derived from TCC patients was further demonstrated on a T leukemia target cell (Peer). When the SLMC on K-562 and on Peer target cells was compared, a specificity difference was observed between TCC and the control patients' effector cells. The SLMC activity of the TCC patients' T cells was not abolished after depletion of Fc receptor-positive cells or following treatment with monoclonal antibodies OKT 8 or OKT 4 and complement (C'). These NK-like cells are therefore distinguished from cytotoxic T lymphocytes and NK cells.