Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) diagnosis first relies on morphology and phenotype that may overlap with other B-cell lymphomas. Therefore, the demonstration of t(11;14)(q13;q32), the cytogenetic hallmark of MCL, is considered of diagnostic value. By studying a series of 35 MCL with characteristic morphology and phenotype (CD5+, CD10-, CD20+, CD23-), we have evaluated the applicability and the sensitivity of interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for t(11;14) detection and other techniques: (1) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for amplification of t(11;14) genomic breakpoint, (2) competitive RT-PCR for the detection of cyclin D1 transcripts overexpression, and (3) immunohistochemistry (IHC) for cyclin D1 protein detection. Tissues from different origins were analyzed: lymph nodes (n = 24), spleen (n = 3), digestive biopsy (n = 3), tonsils (n = 3), and skin (n = 2). Interphase FISH was performed either on touch preparations (n = 11) and frozen (n = 9) or paraffin sections (n = 15). FISH analysis detected t(11;14) in 34/35 cases (97%) and demonstrated a recurrent CCND1 amplification in t(11;14)+ nuclei of the three blastoid MCL variants of our series. Genomic PCR analysis, hampered by the scattering of 11q13 breakpoints, was positive in only 13/35 cases (37%). RT-PCR analysis was applicable on nonepithelial tissues (27/35) and showed cyclin D1 transcript overexpression in all tested cases (27/35). IHC for cyclin D1 protein was performed either on frozen (n = 12) or on paraffin sections (n = 23), and its sensitivity was higher on paraffin sections (91%) than on frozen sections (25%). A cyclin D1 protein immunoreactivity was observed in 24/35 cases (69%). Our study emphasizes on the use of FISH analysis for the direct detection of t(11;14) because its applicability and sensitivity largely exceeded those of other techniques. It may also provide some informations on secondary cytogenetic changes of potential clinical relevance.