We analyzed data on 612 patients who had undergone high-dose chemoradiotherapy (HDT) with autologous stem cell rescue for Hodgkin's disease (HD) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) at the City of Hope National Medical Center, to evaluate the incidence of therapy-related myelodysplasia (t-MDS) or therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia (t-AML) and associated risk factors. A retrospective cohort and a nested case-control study design were used to evaluate the role of pretransplant therapeutic exposures and transplant conditioning regimens. Twenty-two patients developed morphologic evidence of t-MDS/t-AML. The estimated cumulative probability of developing morphologic t-MDS/t-AML was 8.6% ± 2.1% at 6 years. Multivariate analysis of the entire cohort revealed stem cell priming with VP-16 (RR = 7.7, P = 0.002) to be independently associated with an increased risk of t-MDS/t-AML. The influence of pretransplant therapy on subsequent t-MDS/t-AML risk was determined by a case-control study. Multivariate analysis revealed an association between pretransplant radiation and the risk of t-MDS/t-AML, but failed to reveal any association with pretransplant chemotherapy or conditioning regimens. However, patients who had been primed with VP-16 for stem cell mobilization were at a 12.3-fold increased risk of developing t-AML with 11q23/21q22 abnormalities (P = 0.006). Patients undergoing HDT with stem cell rescue are at an increased risk of t-MDS/t-AML, especially those receiving priming with VP-16 for peripheral stem cell collection. (C) 2000 by The American Society of Hematology.