The majority of pediatric anaplastic large cell lymphomas (ALCLs) carry the t(2;5)(p23;q35) chromosomal translocation that juxtaposes the dimerization domain of nucleophosmin with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK). The nucleophosmin-ALK fusion induces constitutive, ligand-independent activation of the ALK tyrosine kinase leading to aberrant activation of cellular signaling pathways. To study the early consequences of ectopic ALK activation, a GyrB-ALK fusion was constructed that allowed regulated dimerization with the addition of coumermycin. Expression of the fusion protein caused a coumermycin-dependent increase in cellular tyrosine phosphorylation and c-Myc immunoreactivity, which was paralleled by a rise in c-myc RNA. To assess the clinical relevance of this observation, c-Myc expression was determined in pediatric ALK-positive and -negative lymphomas. Co-expression of c-Myc and ALK was seen in tumor cells in 15 of 15 (100%) ALK-positive ALCL samples, whereas no expression of either ALK or c-Myc was seen in six of six cases of ALK-negative T-cell lymphoma. C-Myc may be a downstream target of ALK signaling and its expression a defining characteristic of ALK-positive ALCLs.