The detection of monoclonal expansions of the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) or the T-cell receptor-gamma (TCRgamma) chain genes is an important supplement for the diagnosis of the non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHLs). Detection of monoclonality by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method has offered an efficient approach for rapid diagnosis and monitoring of the therapeutic effects. Here we conducted a retrospective PCR clonality study on 49 cases of NHLs including 23 B-cell lymphomas (BCLs), 20 peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCLs), 6 natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphomas and 3 reactive lymphoid tissues from southern Taiwan. Genomic DNAs from paraffin sections were extracted and analyzed by the IgH- and TCR-specific PCR reactions. The results showed that 20 of 23 (87.5%) BCLs exhibited IgH gene rearrangements and were all germline for TCRgamma. 15 of 20 (75.0%) PTCLs exhibited TCRgamma gene rearrangements while 1 case (5%) was positive for IgH gene rearrangement. The 6 NK/T-cell lymphomas and 3 reactive lymphoid tissues were all germline for either IgH or TCRgamma genes. Our results were similar to other Western reports in terms of sensitivity and cell-lineage specificity. This is the first large series of PCR clonality study of IgH and TCRgamma gene rearrangements on NHLs from Taiwan. We have confirmed that this rapid method is a sensitive diagnostic tool for NHLs.