A majority of t(14;18) translocations have been shown to cluster at one of two sites on chromosome 18, called the major breakpoint region (mbr) or the minor cluster region, (mcr), which map within or flanking the bcl-2 proto-oncogene, respectively. We have determined the nucleotide sequence for a portion of the mcr, and constructed oligonucleotides that were used to perform the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in conjunction with universal immunoglobulin primers to specifically amplify t(14;18) breakpoints in DNA obtained from follicular lymphomas. Eight of ten breakpoints that were detectable on Southern blots using DNA probes for the mcr could be detected due to specific amplification by the PCR technique using an mcr-specific primer. Direct nucleotide sequencing of the enzymatically amplified DNAs showed that the breakpoints clustered within a 500 nucleotide region, and five occurred within three nucleotides of each other. These data show a remarkable clustering of some t(14;18) breakpoints at a site on chromosome 18, at least a 30-kb distance from the bcl-2 gene. Our findings also indicate that mcr-specific primers may be used in conjunction with previously described mbr-specific primers in a highly sensitive DNA amplification technique to detect a large fraction of t(14;18) breakpoints.