Deletion of chromosome arm 6q is a frequent karyotypic alteration found in a variety of cancers and lymphoproliferative disorders, including leukemia and lymphomas. We characterized 6q deletions in 35 malignant lymphomas, using conventional and molecular cytogenetic approaches, to define the deletion pattern of 6q in different histological types. Conventional cytogenetics revealed a 6q deletion in 46% of lymphomas, including two cases that showed 6q deletion as the sole chromosome anomaly. Interphase FISH analysis demonstrated allelic loss of 6q regions in 33 out of 35 cases (94.2%); the deletions were discontinuous, involving nonadjacent molecular regions. Although 6q deletion is a common event in all types of lymphomas, specific deletion patterns seem to characterize different histological types, suggesting that different tumor suppressor genes play different roles in different types of lymphomas. Two specific 6q regions deleted in diffuse large B cell lymphomas but not in follicular lymphomas may be implicated in the clinical transformation.