T-cell tumors in ataxia telangiectasia (AT), such as T-PLL/T-CLL, are first preceded by the development of a large clone of T-lymphocytes, characterized by chromosomal rearrangements, which usually involve specific regions such as the 14q11 region. Malignancy develops years later, after additional chromosomal changes resulting from the genomic instability consequent to ATM disruption and to the activation of the TCL1 oncogene. Here we report the results of a cytogenetic follow-up of an AT patient (AT94-1), still without signs of hematological abnormalities, bearing a T-lymphocyte clone characterized by the t(14;14)(q11;q32) rearrangement and having TCL1 expression. We demonstrated that in clonal cells TCL1 expression correlates with increasing genomic instability and in time this mainly induces chromosomal rearrangements and telomeric associations (tas). Chromosome 21 is not randomly involved; in particular, an i(21q) indicates that it is a subclone prone to additional genetic changes and could represent an early chromosomal rearrangement involved in tumorigenesis. With regard to the increase in tas, we observed that: (i) it is inversely correlated with the proliferative ability of AT94-1 lymphocytes in PHA-stimulated short-term cultures (cell aging in vitro); (ii) this increase is not due to changes either in cell radiosensitivity (measured as bleomycin (BML)-sensitivity) or due to an illegitimate recombination (measured as adriamycin-sensitivity), which may not be sufficient for tumor development.