FISH identified a cryptic t(5;14)(q35;q32) in T acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), whereas it was not observed in B ALL samples. This translocation is present in five out of 23 (22%) children and adolescents with T ALL tested. RanBP17, a gene coding for a member of the importin beta protein family, and Hox11Like2, an orphan homeobox gene were mapped close to the chromosome 5 breakpoints and CTIP2, which is highly expressed during normal T cell differentiation, was localized in the vicinity of the chromosome 14 breakpoints. The Hox11L2 gene was found to be transcriptionally activated as a result of the translocation, probably under the influence of CTIP2 transcriptional regulation elements. These data establish the t(5;14)(q35;q32) as a major abnormality, and Hox11 family member activation as an important pathway in T ALL leukemogenesis.