In a chromosome study of childhood lymphoblastic lymphoma, we found a novel translocation, t(9;17)(q34;q23), in three patients. They presented with mediastinal mass and no bone marrow involvement. Despite intensive chemotherapy, one patient had no response, the other two relapsed after a brief remission, and all progressed to death. The 9;17 translocation may have a clinical implication for lymphoblastic lymphoma patients in predicting a poor prognosis. Since, in addition to our cases, involvement of the 9q34 breakpoint, together with 2q33, 14q11, or 7q34, has been reported in the literature in four lymphoblastic lymphoma patients, a gene located in 9q34 and referred to as tcl-3 may participate in the genesis of the T cell malignancies carrying these translocations. Furthermore, as is the case in other lymphomas, the reciprocal breakpoint, 17q23, might be the site of a yet unidentified T cell function gene.