Bcl-2 expression and its prognostic value were evaluated using the APAAP technique in 40 ALL patients. Because of a possible synergy between c-myc and bcl-2 proteins in cell lines, we compared 40 ALL of either T or B lineage with seven Burkitt's ALL or sporadic Burkitt's lymphomas (BL). We found the same high expression of bcl-2 in adult (Ad) and childhood (Ch) malignancies examined at presentation, regardless of the T or B phenotype. No bcl-2 expression was detectable in BL cases, except for two investigated at relapse. Bcl-2 staining intensity was also not related to the stage of blast differentiation, except in Ad T-ALL, or to the relapse rate. Ki-67, a marker of proliferation, was used to investigate the possible correlation between bcl-2 expression and the proliferative activity. An inverse correlation was found only in BL at presentation. We confirm that bcl-2 expression is the rule in ALL, regardless of the immunophenotypic characteristics at presentation, and that high expression is not correlated with a bad prognosis. Sporadic BL may represent a particular type of tumor, with bcl-2 expression in relapse, but not at presentation.