Of 50 consecutive patients (30 female and 20 male; median age,70 years) with a myeloproliferative disorder and a 5q- chromosome, 12 (24%) had refractory anemia, 16 (32%) had refractory anemia with excess blasts, 13 (26%) had acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, six (12%) had the 5q- syndrome, and three (6%) had an unclassifiable myeloproliferative disease. Twenty-five patients had only a 5q- anomaly (group 1), and 25 had a 5q- plus additional chromosome abnormalities (group 2). Four types of 5q- anomalies were recognized: a del(5)(q13q33) occurred in 39 patients, a del(5)(q31q35) in nine, a del(5)(q22q33) in one, and a del(5)(q13q35) in one. The survival distribution for patients in group 1 was significantly better (P = .012) than for those in group 2. Cox- model analyses indicated that having a 5q- chromosome and other abnormalities is significantly (P less than .01) associated with poor survival even after adjustment for the effects of other important factors such as type of disease, age, and sex. The two groups had similar distributions of most variables, including age, sex, and disease types. However, patients in group 1 had a significantly higher platelet count and mean corpuscular volume than those in group 2. Only two patients in group 1 had had prior chemotherapy, but nine in group 2 had had either prior chemotherapy or radiation or both, and one patient in group 2 had had heavy exposure to pesticides.