We explored the feasibility and toxicity of administering escalating doses of anti-CD3/CD28 ex vivo costimulated T cells as a therapeutic adjunct for patients with relapsed, refractory, or chemotherapy-resistant, aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) following high-dose chemotherapy and CD34+-selected hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Sixteen patients had infusions on day 14 after HCT of autologous T cells that had been stimulated using beads coated with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 monoclonal antibodies. At baseline, the subjects had severe quantitative and functional T-cell impairments. The culture procedure partially reversed impaired cytokine responsiveness in T cells in vitro and in vivo. Transient dose-dependent infusion toxicities were observed. There was a rapid reconstitution of lymphocytes; however, there were persistent defects in CD4 T cells. Most interestingly, 5 patients had a delayed lymphocytosis between day 30 and day 120 after HCT. Maximal clinical responses included 5 patients with a complete response (CR), 7 patients with a partial response (PR), and 4 patients with stable disease. At a median follow-up of 33 months (range, 26-60 months), 5 patients are alive with stable or relapsed disease and 3 patients remain in CR. In conclusion, this phase 1 trial demonstrates that adoptive transfer of autologous costimulated T cells (1) is feasible in heavily pretreated patients with advanced NHL, (2) is associated with a rapid recovery of lymphocyte counts, (3) reverses cytokine activation deficits in vitro, and (4) is associated with delayed lymphocytosis in a subset of patients.