A series of T-cell proliferations in peripheral blood, bone marrow, or tissue samples were analyzed for clonality. The technique used employs the polymerase chain reaction to amplify portions of the rearranged T-cell receptor β chain genes, using primers recognizing conserved sequences of the variable, diversity, and joining region segments. We examined 17 cases of T-cell lymphoma or leukemia; a clone was identified in 13 cases (76%) overall and in 7 of 8 cases (87.5%) in which both β-chain alleles were known to be rearranged, as shown by restriction enzyme analysis. No clonal rearrangements were detected in samples from 13 non-T-cell disorders, including B-cell lymphomas, reactive lymphoid proliferations, and nonlymphoid tumors. This method is useful for detecting clones in thymic and post-thymic T-cell malignancies and has the advantages of being extremely rapid (a result is obtained within hours of the biopsy procedure), requiring no radiolabeling, using only a small amount of tissue, and being applicable to formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue.