A t(12;21)(p11-p12;q22) was detected by chromosome painting in three patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) among eight ALL cases with 12p- abnormalities. The three leukemias had similar immunophenotypes (DR+, CD10+, CD19+). Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) experiments using YAC clones from 21q21-q22 were performed to better localize the breakpoint on chromosome 21. This breakpoint was localized to 21q22.2 in one patient. Although only one case of ALL with t(12;21) has been reported previously, the present results suggest that t(12;21) is a recurrent translocation in ALL.