We report four cases of polysomy 8 (one tetrasomy and three pentasomies) observed in acute monocytic leukemia (FAB M4 and M5). Three of them showed a rearrangement of 11q23 identified by conventional cytogenetic analysis and/or chromosome painting. Our cases as well as a review of the literature, suggest that polysomy 8 is preferentially associated with monocytic differentiation (24/31). These polysomies have been observed in 21 de novo leukemias and in 10 secondary hematological disorders. A 11q23 rearrangement has been detected in 9 out of 32 patients, by conventional cytogenetic techniques in 7 and by FISH in 2. We suggest that these cases should be analysed by FISH and molecular studies in order to detect a rearrangement of MLL/11q23. Monocytic differentiation is often associated with a change of the MLL gene and the polysomy 8 might be a particular clonal evolution secondary to 11q23 abnormality.