Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) activity was measured in 60 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1)-infected patients receiving a recombinant gp160 (rgp160) envelope protein of HIV-1(NL4-3) in alum and 64 receiving placebo over a 5-year study period. There was no difference in the percentage of ADCC responders when comparing rgp160-immunized patients (mean, 78.4%) with those receiving placebo alone (mean, 81.5%) at any time point examined. Patients were further divided into progression groups regardless of their vaccine status. ADCC activity was somewhat higher in rapid than in slow-progressing groups, although the number that had detectable ADCC activity was equivalent in each group. ADCC activity of sera from rapid- and slow-progressing groups against primary or laboratory isolate envelopes was similar. This study showed that transcription with rgp160 did not appear to enhance HIV-specifiC ADCC activity. ADCC activity did not appear to correlate with protection against AIDS in this cohort of HIV-l-infected people.