Some patients unexpectedly fail to mobilize sufficient numbers of haematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) into the peripheral blood for autologous transplantation. Considering the important role of the chemokine stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) in HPC homing, we investigated a possible relationship between SDF1 gene polymorphism and HPC mobilization capacity in 63 patients with malignancy. Some 67% of the good mobilizers (> or = 50 CD34(+) cells/microl) and only 36% of the intermediate/poor mobilizers were SDF1-3'A allele carriers (P = 0.032). In multivariate analysis, the presence of the SDF1-3'A allele was the only factor predictive of good CD34(+) cell mobilization (P = 0.025). This is the first report showing the involvement of genetic factors for HPC mobilization in humans and suggests a significant role for SDF-1 in this process.