Chromosomal rearrangements involving 6p21 have been observed in uterine leiomyomata and a variety of other benign tumors. The gene for HMGI(Y), a member of the high-mobility group (HMG) family of proteins, has been localized to 6p21. To determine whether rearrangements observed in this area alter HMGI(Y) expression, we analyzed HMGI(Y) DNA-binding activity in protein extracts from uterine leiomyoma and normal myometrium tissues. This report describes a uterine leiomyoma specimen with an inv(6)(p21q15). A genomic P1 clone that contains the HMGI(Y) region of chromosome 6 is found to span the inversion breakpoint by fluorescent in situ hybridization of metaphase chromosomes. Expression of HMGI(Y) protein in this leiomyoma specimen is increased dramatically as compared with the matching normal myometrial tissue. Elevated HMGI(Y) expression was also found in 8 of 16 leiomyomas without cytogenetically detectable chromosome 6p21 aberrations but not in any of the 9 matching myometrial tissues. Analysis of the genetic events involved in the pathobiology of these benign tumors will provide a basis for understanding the process of improper cellular growth and might be important in deciphering the multistep pathway of tumorigenesis.