BACKGROUND Adoptive immune cell transfer such as cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells has become an important adjuvant approach in patients with tumours. OBJECTIVES The aim of this study was to analyse the adverse events (AEs) that occur during the transfusion of autologous CIK cells and to identify the risk factors associated with these AEs. METHODS Cell infusion-associated AEs were evaluated according to National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria. Analysis was performed from a single-centre data on 893 malignant tumour patients who received a total of 4088 transfusions from March 2008 to October 2013. RESULTS A total of 215/4088 (5.26%) transfusion cases from 893 patients presented with AEs (Grade 1 - 4); 204/215 (94.88%) were Grade 1 - 2, and 156/215 (72.56%) occurred within 24 h. The most common AEs were fever (0.88%), chills (0.56%) and fatigue (0.49%). The rare but severe AEs included anaphylactoid purpura, tumour lysis syndrome, anaphylactic shock, arthralgia. No transfusion-associated death was noticed. The mainly relative risk factors for AEs included transfer cycles and clinical stages. CONCLUSION This study is a large-sample AEs research, to our knowledge, relative to immune cell transfusion from a single centre data analysis, revealing that autologous CIK cell therapy represents a fairly safe and well-tolerated treatment modality for malignant tumour patients, even rare severe, but not lethal AEs were observed in few patients.