Cytokines and immune cells are likely to be involved in the control of lung metastasis. We have therefore investigated the possibility of inhibiting lung metastases by the means of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) aerosolizations in a murine model of lung cancer. A Lewis lung carcinoma (3LL) was inoculated in the thigh of C57BL/6 mice. Randomized groups of 10 mice each were then treated by repeated aerosols of IFN-gamma (4,000 U/mouse) of aerosols of a Hanks' solution as controls. When the animals were killed at 18 days, the number of lung metastatic nodules was significantly reduced (by 50%; P < 0.01) after IFN-gamma aerosols, compared with controls. When the primary tumor was resected at 18 days and aerosols were continued, in the absence of local recurrence, mice treated by IFN-gamma aerosols survived longer than did controls (P < 0.05). In vitro, IFN-gamma exerted no direct antitumoral effect on 3LL cells in culture. Macrophages recovered from mice receiving IFN-gamma aerosols showed a higher antiproliferative effect on 3LL cells in vitro than did controls. Nevertheless, the higher antiproliferative effect of activated macrophages seems insufficient to explain the difference of survival that we observed between IFN-gamma-treated mice and controls.