The lymphocyte function-associated (LFA)-1 molecule is expressed on certain populations of macrophages that have an augmented capacity to capture tumor cells. Accordingly, we analyzed the role of LFA-1 in the establishment of such cell-cell interactions. F(ab')2 fragments of the M17/4, anti-LFA-1 monoclonal antibody (MAb) inhibited the interaction between activated macrophages and tumor cells by up to 80% in a dose-dependent manner. The anti-LFA-1 MAb reduced (between 55 to 79%) the number of P815, LSTRA, or EL-4 tumor cells bound to trypsin-sensitive structures on bacillus Calmette Guerin activated macrophages. The inhibition appeared selective, because a F(ab')2 fragment of anti-Mac-1 did not inhibit such binding. Inhibition of tumor cell capture could be observed as soon as 15 min after the onset of the cell-cell interaction between activated macrophages and tumor cells. Optimal inhibition occurred when both tumor targets and macrophages were precoated with the MAb. Although P815, LSTRA, EL-4, and BW5147 tumor cells all expressed LFA-1, only the first three but not BW5147 cells were bound by activated macrophages. Furthermore, endotoxin-pulsed macrophages elicited by thioglycollate broth expressed the LFA-1 antigen but did not exhibit selective tumor cell capture. Finally, anti-LFA-1 inhibited the development of weak into strong binding. Taken together, the results suggest that LFA-1 molecules can participate in the interaction between activated macrophages and neoplastic cells.