To assess an unequivocal diagnosis of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), we have developed a fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay, enabling the demonstration of t(11;14)(q13;q32) directly on pathological samples. We have first selected CCND1 and IGH probes encompassing the breakpoint regions on both chromosomes. Then, we have defined experimental conditions enabling us to obtain bright clear-cut signals in all of the samples, independently of the initial fixation conditions. We have analyzed single-cell suspensions from 26 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded MCL samples with this set of probes. In all cases, we have found a fusion signal (ie, a t(11;14)(q13;q32) translocation) in 14% to 99% of cells (median, 87%). So far, IGH-CCND1 fusions have been detected in all of the 51 MCL patients that we have analyzed by FISH (either on paraffin-embedded tumor samples or on peripheral blood samples). Regarding the low sensitivity of other techniques used to diagnose t(11;14)(q13;q32) (ie, 70% to 75% for cytogenetics and 50% to 60% for polymerase chain reaction), our FISH assay is by far the most sensitive technique. Moreover, because of the quality of the fluorescent signals and the rapidity of the experiment, this technique is widely applicable, even in routine cytogenetics or pathology laboratories. As MCL patients are usually refractory to standard therapy, an unambiguous diagnosis is needed to propose adapted therapeutic strategies, and this highly sensitive assay may be of great value for accurate diagnosis in difficult cases.