The clinical and biological significance of additional chromosome aberrations was investigated in a large series of 66 adult patients with Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Additional chromosome changes were observed in 71% of the cases. 9p abnormalities were identified in 26%, and monosomy 7 as well as hyperdiploid karyotypes 50 were both found in 17% of cases. 9p anomalies were characterized by a low complete remission (CR) rate (58%) and an extremely short median remission duration (MRD: 100 d). In patients with monosomy 7, the poor treatment outcome was confirmed (CR rate 55%: MRD 113 d). In contrast, all patients with hyperdiploid karyotypes 50 achieved CR, and the overall survival was superior to all other Ph-positive ALL patients except those without additional chromosome aberrations. Exclusive rearrangement of the minor breakpoint cluster region of the BCR gene and lack of coexpression of myeloid-associated antigens in cases with 9p anomalies as well as a high frequency of rearrangements of the major breakpoint cluster region of the BCR gene in patients with monosomy 7 (89%) further substantiated that additional chromosome aberrations may characterize distinct subgroups of Ph-positive ALL. Moreover, the necessity of the complementing use of chromosome banding analyses, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, and fluorescence in situ hybridizations in the accurate identification of Ph-positive patients has become evident due to variant Ph translocations in 3%, and negative PCR assays in 4% of the cases.