We used single high doses of cyclophosphamide (4 g/m2) to produce rebound increases in peripheral blood (PB) stem cells (PBSC) during recovery from myelosuppression, enabling their collection by apheresis for later autotransplantation. Thirty-three courses of cyclophosphamide were given to 30 patients with malignant lymphoma, multiple myeloma, or solid tumors. The neutrophil count was less than 0.5 x 10(9)/liter for a mean of 6.9 days (median 7 days), and fever occurred in 17 of 33 courses. Positive blood cultures occurred in two patients, one of whom died. The mean peak level of PB granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming units (CFU-GM) was 1517 x 10(3)/liter (median 2447 x 10(3)/liter), a 14-fold increase above the mean in normal subjects. The peak occurred at a mean of 16.6 days (median 16 days) after cyclophosphamide, generally coinciding with the time to reach 1.0 x 10(9) neutrophils per liter. Normal or minimally involved bone marrow and a rapid rise in leukocyte count during recovery were independent variables correlated to the peak of the rebound increase in PB CFU-GM levels. Previous chemotherapy and the duration of neutropenia were additional independent variables in the group with peak PB CFU-GM levels of greater than 1000 x 10(3)/liter. The mean total CFU-GM collected after a mean of five aphereses was 43.8 x 10(4)/kg body weight (BW) (median 35.5 x 10(4)/kg BW), significantly correlated with the mononuclear cell yield. We conclude that single 4 g/m2 doses of cyclophosphamide effectively produce high levels of PBSC, particularly but not exclusively in patients with normal or minimally involved bone marrow and who have not had intensive recent chemotherapy.