The hematopoietic growth factors granulocyte/macrophage colony- stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and G-CSF, available as recombinant products, stimulate the growth in culture of blasts from patients with acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML). We used cDNA probes for each gene to study the genomic organization in blast cells of 22 patients and expression in the blast cells of 18 patients. Alteration in the structure of G-CSF (two instances) and GM-CSF (two instances) was found. In two patients in whom it was possible to study DNA from bone marrow obtained at remission, the new bands detected in the leukemic cells were not found. Fifteen of 18 patients showed no RNA expression of either growth factor. Both patients with GM-CSF abnormalities as seen by Southern analysis expressed an abnormally large GM-CSF message but no G-CSF messages. One patient with an abnormal Southern pattern with G-CSF expressed normal-sized G-CSF and GM-CSF messages. The biologic significance of these findings remains to be determined. Nonetheless, the abnormal Southern patterns may prove to be useful clonal markers in the study of AML.