We treated 24 children and adolescents with stage III or IV lymphoblastic non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, using a protocol designed for patients with poor-prognosis acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Early therapy consisted of teniposide plus cytarabine administered before and immediately after prednisone, vincristine, and asparaginase. The two- drug combination was also given intermittently with continuous 6- mercaptopurine and methotrexate during the first year of continuation chemotherapy. Periodic intrathecal methotrexate and delayed cranial irradiation were used to prevent central nervous system involvement. Anthracycline compounds, alkylating agents, high-dose methotrexate, and involved-field irradiation were not used in any phase of treatment. Twenty-two (96%) of the 23 evaluable patients achieved complete remission. With a median follow-up of 2 1/2 years, only four patients have relapsed; the remainder have been disease-free for eight months to more than five years. The projected four-year continuous complete remission rate is 73% for all patients and 79% for the 19 with mediastinal involvement at diagnosis. These results demonstrate that use of teniposide plus cytarabine with an otherwise conventional plan of ALL therapy is an effective approach to the treatment of childhood lymphoblastic lymphoma.