Eighteen patients with lymphoid malignancies and abnormalities of the short arm of chromosome 17 were evaluated, in order to analyse whether this anomaly was associated with a particular subgroup of lymphoid malignancies. The patients suffered from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or plasma cell leukemia. No 17p anomaly was found in any patient with chronic lymphocytic leukemia or low-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In four cases the aberration of the short arm of chromosome 17 was the sole cytogenetic abnormality, in fourteen patients additional chromosomal aberrations were found. Five out of 18 cases were Burkitt's lymphoma/leukemia showing the typical rearrangement of 8q24. In cases with a karyotype evolution the 17p anomaly was always a late event. Concerning the clinical outcome of the patients with abnormalities of the short arm of chromosome 17 eight of nineteen patients died within 90 days after the diagnosis of the 17p anomaly only three were alive at the last follow up (26 months to 40 months after diagnosis of a 17p aberration). Rearrangements of 17p, especially as secondary cytogenetic events, seem to be associated with a poor clinical outcome in lymphoid malignancies.