The lamins A, B and C which are differentially expressed during ontogenesis and differentiation are karyoskeletal proteins forming a polymeric meshwork at the inner nuclear membrane. Using Northern blot analyses we investigated the steady state levels of the three lamin specific RNA transcripts in neoplastic cells derived from 16 untreated patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and in ALL and NHL established cell lines. Whereas lamin B mRNA was present in all, lamin A and C transcripts were observed in none of the malignant cell samples except one of a common-ALL patient (precursor B-ALL, cytoplasmic mu chain negative). All three lamin mRNAs were detected in normal peripheral blood lymphocytes, however, only after mitogenic stimulation with concanavalin A. Our results provide evidence that expression of lamin A and C is repressed in neoplastic blast cells derived from patients with ALL or NHL and suggest that lamin A and C gene repression is not related to cell proliferation but might be relevant to the differentiated stages of the lymphoid cells in vivo.