Recent studies have shown that abnormalities of cytokine and lymphokine secretion are involved in the pathophysiology of Fanconi's anaemia (FA). In the present study, we quantified IL-1 beta, IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), IL-6 and TNF alpha protein levels in the supernatant of long-term cultures generated from BM cells of FA patients. Cell-free conditioned medium from long-term bone marrow culture was harvested every week at confluence and tested for interleukin secretion. IL-1 beta, IL-1Ra, TNF alpha and IL-6 protein secretion was assessed using immunoassays. IL-6 secretion was similar between controls and FA supernatants from wk 1 to wk 4. TNF alpha released from FA cells was consistently found at very low levels compared to control cells during the first 3 wk. Furthermore, secretion of IL-1 beta by cells from FA was always more than 2 standard deviations below the value of IL-1 beta found in normal donor cells from wk 1 to wk 4. In conclusion, in addition to a stem cell defect, a marked decrease in IL-1 beta and TNF alpha secretion may be one of the mechanisms leading to bone marrow failure in individuals with Fanconi's anaemia.