Using a cDNA microarray, we compared the expression of approximately 8000 genes between two unique, clonally related T cell lines derived from different stages of a progressive T cell lymphoma involving skin. A total of 180 genes was found to be differentially expressed at the RNA level by a factor of fivefold or greater. Compared with the cells from the earlier, clinically indolent stage of the lymphoma, 56 genes were up-regulated, whereas 124 genes were down-regulated in the cells from the advanced, clinically aggressive stage lymphoma. The functions of approximately 65% of these genes are currently unknown. The 22 genes with a known function that were up-regulated in the advanced lymphoma cells included several genes involved in promotion of cell proliferation and survival as well as drug resistance. The 42 functionally characterized genes that were down-regulated in the advanced lymphoma cells included negative regulators of cell activation and cell cycle, and mediators of cell adhesion, apoptosis, and genome integrity. The differential expression identified by the cDNA microarray analysis was confirmed for selected genes by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Northern blotting. The identified differences in gene expression may be related to the differences in behavior between the early and advanced stages of the T cell lymphoma and point to directions for further investigations into mechanisms of lymphoma progression.