Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of B-cell lineage. The blastoid variant of MCL, characterized by high mitotic rate, is clinically more aggressive than common MCL. We used the cDNA array technology to examine the gene expression profiles of both blastoid variant and common MCL. The data was analysed by regression analysis, principal component analysis and the naive Bayes' classifier. Eight genes were identified as differentially deregulated between the two groups. Oncogenes CMYC, BCL2 and PIM1 were upregulated more frequently in the blastoid variant than in common MCL. This implied that the gp130-mediated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signalling pathway was involved in the blastoid variant transformation of MCL. Other differentially deregulated genes were TOP1, CD23, CD45, CD70 and NFATC. By using the eight differentially deregulated genes, we created a classifier to distinguish the blastoid variant from common MCL with high accuracy. We also identified 18 genes that were deregulated in both groups. Among them, BCL1, CALLA/CD10 and GRN were suggested to be oncogenes. The products of RGS1, RGS2, ANX2 and CD44H were suggested to promote tumour metastasis. CD66D was suggested to be a tumour suppressor gene.