The purpose of this study was to analyze the prognostic significance of early lymphocyte recovery after autologous SCT (ASCT) in the setting of routine post transplant administration of GM-CSF in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). This is a single institution retrospective comparative outcome analysis in a cohort of 268 relapsed chemosensitive NHL patients divided into two groups (early and late lymphocyte recovery) based on absolute lymphocyte counts (ALC) obtained on post transplant day + 15 (ALC≥500, n = 151 (56%) and ALC<500, n = 117 (44%)). Patient's characteristics were well-balanced between the two groups with regard to age, sex, preparative regimen, prior therapy, time from diagnosis to transplant and number of CD34 + cells infused. Post transplant complications were comparable in the two groups. Late lymphocyte recovery (ALC <500 on day + 15) was independently associated with a delay in platelet recovery (29 vs 21 days, P = 0.0003) in patients who have not received pre-transplant rituximab. With a median follow-up of 22 months, no associations between early lymphocyte recovery and improvement of disease-free and overall survival were observed for either low- or intermediate-grade NHL. In conclusion, in this large single-centered retrospective analysis, where patients received routine post transplant GM-CSF, early lymphocyte recovery was not associated with favorable outcomes.