This study prospectively analysed the relationships between immunophenotypic and cytogenetic features of blast cells in 432 acute non-lymphoblastic leukemias (ANLL) at presentation. An abnormal karyotype was detected in 232 cases (54%). These abnormalities were related to immunophenotypic markers as detected using a consensual panel of monoclonal antibodies allowing lineage assignment and investigation of myeloid marker expression on blast cells. In univariate analysis, CD9, CD10, CD15, CD34 and TdT expression appeared significantly associated with chromosomal anomalies. Multivariate analysis identified CD34 and CD9 expression as independently predictive of the presence of at least one cytogenetic abnormality (P < 10(-4) and P < 0.03, respectively). Significant associations between immunophenotypic and karyotypic features were observed both within individual FAB subgroups and independently from morphological criteria. Specific features were seen in five ANLL entities: M0 or M1/B lineage antigen positivity/t(9;22) or del(11)(q23); M2/CD13-/t(8;21); M4/CD13+, CD34+, CD36+/inv(16); M4 or M5/lack of B lineage antigen/del(11)(q23) or t(9;11). More practically, and although the relationships demonstrated only represent a fraction of homogeneous immunophenotypic subgroups, identification of such immunophenotypic features should prompt careful karyotypic examination, eventually using molecular biology analysis on non-growing cells.