Growth factor and cytokine control of hemopoiesis, the process of blood cell development, is mediated by specific interactions with cell-surface receptors. Hemopoietic growth factor receptors belong to two major families, the transmembrane protein tyrosine kinases and the hemopoietin receptors. Ligand binding stimulates receptor aggregation and activation resulting in transduction of signals that induce diverse cellular responses including proliferation, maturation, prevention of apoptosis and/or functional activation. Deregulation of hemopoiesis can result in leukemia, the malignant transformation of blood cells, or the development of other hemoproliferative disorders. As hemopoietic growth factor receptors are integral to blood cell regulation, it is feasible that receptor abnormalities may contribute to leukemia by circumventing normal growth factor control or altering the balance of proliferation and differentiation. Although considerable experimental evidence has clearly established the leukemogenic potential of mutated growth factor receptors, studies to date suggest that such abnormalities contribute only rarely to human disease.