The majority of the most effective monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) currently in the clinics bind to cancer or immune cells. Classic mechanisms of cell killing by therapeutic mAbs include antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, complement-dependent cytotoxicity and induction of apoptosis by engagement of specific cell ligands. A few reports have described mAbs whose cytotoxic activity is Fc-independent and that do not induce the morphological and biochemical changes associated with the apoptosis-type of cell death. Even fewer works describe mAbs able to directly induce membrane lesions. Here, we discuss the available data on those molecules and their cell killing activity, with particular attention to the case of a mAb specific for the tumor-associated N-glycolyl (Neu5Gc)-GM3 ganglioside (GM3(Neu5Gc)). Some similarities are found in the cell death pathways triggered by these mAbs, but data are not abundant. We conclude that the usefulness of mAbs with a direct cytotoxic activity for immunotherapeutic strategies deserves deeper research.