Analysis of a growing number of chromosomal translocations in human tumors have shown that they frequently result in gene fusions encoding chimeric proteins. We have characterized the recurrent t(12;21)(p12;q22) translocation present in human B-lineage acute leukemias. This translocation fused two genes, tel and AML1, that have previously been described in chromosomal translocations specific for myeloid malignancies. These two genes therefore belong to an increasing number of human genes that are involved in a variety of hematopoietic malignant disorders and can be rearranged with numerous partners. Interestingly, in these acute leukemias, deletion of the other tel allele from the normal chromosome 12 was associated with the tel rearrangement, whereas both tel alleles were present in the chronic leukemias bearing a t(5;12) that we have tested.