Chromosomes of bone marrow from 28 patients with acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (ANLL) (26 with AML, 2 with AMMoL), 19 of whom had chromosome abnormalities, were studied; 11 cases exhibited previously unreported karyotypic abnormalities. The marrows of two cases had 8-21 translocations associated with an iso-X chromosome in the female patient and with 9q13- and a missing Y in the male patient. Usually, AML patients with a 8-21 translocation have been considered to have a good prognosis; however, our cases had rather short survival times. Therefore, the prognosis of AML with an 8-21 translocation but associated with other abnormalities is still not clear. Centromere spreading (CS), which was originally reported in marrow cells of megaloblastic anemia (B12 and folic acid deficiency), was detected in leukemic cells, disappeared during remission, and reappeared on relapse. These findings suggest that CS may be a new type of abnormality in AML. In two patients with atypical hypoplastic anemia and hemolytic anemia, chromosome abnormalities were detected at the anemic stage. One case with CS was associated with atypical hypoplastic anemia and developed AML after 1 year; the other with 48,XY,+i(1q),+3,/12 and -14 had hemolytic anemia and developed AMMoL 3 weeks later. Interestingly, identical clones were detected both before and after the clinical diagnosis of leukemia. These cases strongly support the concept that some chromosome abnormalities precede the clinical manifestations of leukemia. The present study also revealed that lymphocytes in ANLL respond poorly to PHA in the presence of high numbers of blasts but do respond well to mitogens during remission. Therefore, the response of lymphocytes to PHA may serve as one criterion for determining remission.