Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) has a dismal outcome when treated with conventional chemotherapy. This single arm phase 2 study evaluated intensive consolidation treatment of patients with newly diagnosed MCL up to the age of 65 years, responsive to R-CHOP (rituximab, cyclophosphamide, oncovin, adriamycin, prednisolone). Endpoints for evaluation were toxicity, failure-free survival (FFS) and overall survival (OS). Eighty-seven patients were treated with three cycles of R–CHOP. Sixty-six patients responded to R-CHOP with at least a partial response, 62 continued protocol treatment with high-dose cytarabine (Ara-C; 2000 mg/m2, bid. over 4 d) and 61 patients received rituximab and stem cell harvest, followed by BEAM (carmustine, etoposide, Ara-C, melphalan) and autologous stem cell rescue. Non-haematological toxicity, grades III and IV, was seen in 8% of the patients after R-CHOP, in 22% after high-dose Ara-C and in 55% after BEAM. The overall response rate was 70% (complete response rate 64%, partial response rate 6%), FFS and OS at 4 years were 36 ± 7% and 66 ± 6%, respectively. The FFS and OS at 4 years from the evaluation after BEAM in the 61 R-CHOP responsive patients was 46 ± 9% and 79 ± 7%, respectively. In conclusion, high-dose Ara-C and BEAM with stem cell rescue in newly diagnosed MCL patients responsive to R-CHOP is a manageable treatment with respect to toxicity. This regimen leads to long-term, but probably not durable, remissions.