The recurrent t(12;21)(p12;q22) translocation fuses two genes, TEL and AML1, that have previously been shown to be independently involved in myeloid malignant proliferations. A search for rearrangement of the TEL locus in the region known to be involved in t(12;21) was performed by Southern blotting in a panel of hematopoietic malignancies. The presence of a t(12;21) was confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and/or reverse transcriptase (RT)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We report that fusion of TEL to AML1 is specifically observed in at least 16% of the childhood B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) investigated, none of which had been previously identified as harboring t(12;21).