Point mutations of the N-ras proto-oncogenes have been previously detected in 20% to 60% of samples of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), but the clinical significance of these mutations is presently unclear. We directly sequenced polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplified N-ras fragments to determine the frequency of N-ras point mutations in 55 adult patients with de novo AML. Mutations were present in 8 of 55 (15%) patients. These mutations were usually in codon 12, 13, or 61, but one patient had mutations in both codons 13 and 61, and another had an unusual point mutation in N-ras codon 60. A comparison of patients with and without N-ras mutations showed no statistically significant differences in pretreatment clinical variables, response to induction therapy, or survival, except for a possibly higher percentage of FAB M4 subtypes in patients with the N-ras mutation. These data together with previous reports suggest that the presence of N-ras point mutations do not clearly define a unique clinical or biologic subset of AML patients.