Between September 1986 and June 1998, 32 patients with relapsed or refractory intermediate or high grade lymphoma received intensified preparative therapy and underwent allogeneic transplantation at a single institution. Patients were considered for allogeneic transplantation if they failed to respond to initial therapy, failed to respond to salvage therapy, relapsed after autologous transplantation, had bone marrow involvement, or failed attempts to harvest autologous stem cells. Patients had a median age of 39 years and had generally received at least two chemotherapy regimens. Five year actuarial survival (S) was 16% +/- 6%; median survival was 4 months. Survival was significantly worse in patients who had received high intensity brief duration chemotherapy prior to transplantation and was also significantly worse in patients who did not receive total body irradiation (TBI). This likely reflects the fact that the patients with the most resistant disease had required local radiotherapy and could not receive TBI. While treatment related mortality played a major role in limiting the effectiveness of allogeneic transplantation, in this heavily pre-treated population of patients with resistant disease, only 39% of patients achieved a complete response following allogeneic transplantation, and in only 40% of that group was long term disease free survival achieved.