Patients with cirrhosis have an increased risk of dying from pneumococcal pneumonia. Their immunological response to pneumococcal vaccination is not known. We compared the antibody response to challenge with a 14-valent purified pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine in 15 patients with biopsy-proven alcoholic liver cirrhosis, 10 healthy volunteers and 10 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Preimmunization levels for Danish type 1 pneumococcal polysaccharide were lower among cirrhotics than patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Four and 12 weeks after immunization, no significant differences were found in antibody concentrations between the three groups. We conclude that patients with alcoholic cirrhosis can produce an adequate antibody response to pneumococcal polysaccharide antigen.