The design of combination hormonal and immunotherapeutic protocols for breast cancer patients may be facilitated by analysis of preclinical in vitro model systems. Estrogen receptor positive (ER+: MCF-7) and negative (ER-: MDA-MB-231) human breast cancer cell lines were utilized to evaluate the effects of tamoxifen (TAM) and estradiol (E2) on modulation of breast cancer target susceptibility to lysis by lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells. E2-stimulated ER+ cells were more susceptible to lysis by LAK cells than corresponding TAM-treated or control cells, while treatment of ER- cells with either E2 or TAM alone did not alter from control their susceptibility to this immune-mediated lysis. All ER+ and ER- cells tested remained sensitive after treatment with TAM to lysis by LAK cells. In addition, an adenocarcinoma reactive human-mouse chimeric monoclonal antibody (ING-1) was able to significantly boost in vivo generated LAK cell-mediated lysis of control, E2-treated, and TAM-treated ER+ and ER- cells. These in vitro results provide a preclinical rationale for in vivo testing of TAM, interleukin-2 (IL-2), and breast cancer reactive antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity facilitating antibody in patients with refractory or high risk breast cancer.