We investigated chromosome alterations and mutations of the p53 gene in 118 samples from 92 patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia in various clinical phases, i.e., chronic phase, accelerated phase, and blast crisis (BC). Single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis and subsequent nucleotide sequencing disclosed no alteration of the p53 gene in chronic phase (no mutation in 80 samples), while five of 31 BC samples showed point mutations: four in myeloid and one in lymphoid crisis. One of seven accelerated phase samples also showed a p53 gene mutation. Ten of 31 BC samples showed loss of one of the short arms of chromosome 17 (17p) through the formation of isochromosome 17q, i(17q), or unbalanced translocations. Loss of heterozygosity at the p53 locus in the accelerated phase and BC was detected only in two cases with i(17q) but not in seven cases with normal chromosome 17 homologues, suggesting that loss of one p53 allele is rare without cytogenetically detectable loss of a 17p. Among those six samples with p53 gene mutations, five showed loss of a 17p cytogenetically, and only one lymphoid crisis case exhibited normal chromosome 17 homologues. Thus, mutations of the p53 gene were closely associated with myeloid crisis with loss of a 17p (four mutations in ten samples), in contrast to myeloid crisis with normal chromosome 17 homologues (zero in 13) or lymphoid crisis (one in seven). Our results also suggest that alterations of the p53 gene might occur after loss of a 17p during the course of chronic myelogenous leukemia.