The monoclonal antibody OKT3 (Ortho Pharmaceutical, Raritan, NJ) was utilized in two separate protocols for treatment of acute renal allograft rejection in patients receiving cyclosporine, azathioprine, and prednisone for maintenance immunosuppression. In Group I, 54 patients received steroids for primary treatment of acute rejection with OKT3 used for resistant rejections and second rejection episodes. In Group II, 34 patients received OKT3 as primary treatment of acute rejection while steroids were used for rescue and second rejection episodes. OKT3 successfully reversed 82% of initial acute rejection episodes in Group II as compared with a 63% reversal with steroids in Group I. Rescue treatment was required in only 15% of Group II patients compared with 33% of Group I patients. Overall patient survival was 96% and 94%, respectively, for steroid primary and OKT3 primary treatments. Allograft survival at 3 months was identical, 74% in both groups. Based on allograft survival data, OKT3 is equally effective either as primary treatment for allograft rejection, or for rescue therapy if initial corticosteroid treatment fails. © 1988, National Kidney Foundation. All rights reserved.. All rights reserved.