The cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) is a promising candidate for an effector cell in adoptive immunotherapy for renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Here we report the clinical course and in vivo immune responses of a RCC patient with bulky retroperitoneal lymph node (RPLN) metastases who received adoptive autologous CTL therapy. A 56-year-old woman diagnosed with RCC with multiple RPLN metastases underwent unilateral nephrectomy. Autologous RCC cells were primary-cultured from surgical specimens. Before addition of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) for CTL induction, subconfluent RCC cells were irradiated with 50 Gy. The PBMCs were then cultured on RCC cells in the induction medium supplemented with four kinds of interleukins. The induced CTLs showed the potent killing activity against autologous RCC cells in a typical MHC-class I-restricted manner. The patient received three courses of CTL therapy with a total of 10·2 × 109 cells, and the RPLN mass decreased markedly in size after the second course. Eosinophilia and enhanced CTL inducibility from peripheral blood were observed after CTL administrations. The patient was progression free without further treatment; however, she developed rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis more than 1 year after the last treatment. The patient died of newly developed metastases 27 months after the start of CTL therapy. At autopsy, viable RCC cells were found in multiple metastatic sites. However, only diffuse fibrous tissue was observed in the responding RPLN mass. Apparent histological divergence was observed between primary and metastatic sites.