To analyze the pathogenesis of B-cell lymphomas in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), we studied two cell lines, Es I and Es III, established from one such lymphoma for the presence of sequences of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and the human immunodeficiency virus [HIV; lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV/HTLV- III)] as well as for the presence of cytogenetic abnormalities and monoclonal rearrangements of immunoglobulin and T-cell receptor genes. Both cell lines expressed the same IgM, kappa phenotype as the original lymphoma. The karyotype of Es I was 46, XY, t(8;14), 2 p+, inv (6p), 17p-, and the cells of Es III had an additional i(7q). Immunoglobulin gene studies demonstrated the identical monoclonal rearrangements in both cell lines. Neither EBV nor HIV sequences were detectable in the malignant B cells at the genomic level, leading to the conclusion that mechanisms other than transformation by EBV or HIV may have contributed to the B-cell lymphoma in this patient and possibly also to the generally increased frequency in patients with AIDS.