We analyzed the karyotype of 27 B-cell lymphomas of human origin that developed in mice with severe combined immunodeficiency disease following the injection of peripheral blood leukocytes from Epstein-Barr virus-seropositive donors. Three tumors had clonal abnormalities detected with conventional techniques, 2 had trisomy 11, and 1 had a del(6)(q21q25). One other tumor had trisomy 11 detected with fluorescence in situ hybridization. Twelve tumors had a normal karyotype, 11 tumors had nonclonal abnormalities (which included trisomy 9 or 12 in 3 or 2 tumors, respectively), and one tumor had a karyotype of 92,XXXX(75%)/46,XX(25%) by conventional cytogenetic analysis. Trisomy for chromosomes, 9, 11, and 12 are recurring abnormalities that have been observed in lymphomas associated with an immunocompromised state. Clonal or nonclonal abnormalities were observed in 8 of 11 tumors derived from 3 donors whose peripheral lymphocytes induced a high incidence of tumors in mice with severe combined immunodeficiency disease compared with a clonal abnormality and 2 nonclonal abnormal cells in 2 of 5 tumors derived from 3 donors whose lymphocytes induced an intermediate to low incidence. These observations suggest an association between a higher incidence of karyotypically abnormal cells in lymphomas and the increased tumorigenic potential of the lymphocytes that induced these tumors.