We have used a continuous fluorescence monitoring method to assess cyclin D1 mRNA expression in a variety of hematological and non-hematological processes. We examined 14 cell lines, 11 reactive lymphoid tissues, and 57 primary hematopoietic neoplasms including mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) (n = 10), chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL) (n = 11), acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (n = 15), follicular lymphoma (n = 6), peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) (n = 3), anaplastic large cell lymphoma (n = 3), hairy cell leukemia (n = 3), Burkitt lymphoma (n = 1), Burkitt-like lymphoma (n = 4), and plasmacytoma (n = 1) for the expression of cyclin D1 mRNA using fluorescently labeled sequence-specific hybridization probes. Fluorescence (F) was plotted against cycle (C) number over 45 cycles. The log-linear portion of the F versus C graph identified a fractional cycle number for threshold fluorescence. A beta-globin mRNA transcript with equivalent amplification efficiency to that of cyclin D1 was used for assessment of RNA integrity and normalization. In general, the MCLs demonstrated substantially higher levels of cyclin D1 mRNA than the other lymphoproliferative processes. Moderately high levels of cyclin D1 mRNA were detected in one PTCL. On average, the CLL/SLL cases showed cyclin D1 mRNA levels two to three orders of magnitude lower than observed in the MCLs. Cell lines derived from non-hematopoietic neoplasms such as fibrosarcoma, small cell carcinoma, and neuroblastoma showed comparable or higher levels of cyclin D1 mRNA than the MCLs. Our results indicate that quantitative real-time reverse transcription (RT) polymerase chain reaction is a simple, rapid, and accurate technique for assessing cyclin D1 expression, and while it is not specific, it can reliably be used in the distinction of MCL from CLL/SLL.