The diagnostic and prognostic value of immunophenotyping with 18 murine monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs) to a variety of leukocyte differentiation antigens was assessed in 168 adults aged 15 to 60 years with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Patients were entered on the multicentre Australian Leukaemia Study Group M4 protocol, and were randomized to receive either standard or high-dose Ara-C together with daunorubicin and etoposide as induction chemotherapy, followed by standard consolidation and maintenance therapy. Diagnostic bone marrow aspirate (152 cases) or peripheral blood samples (16) were analyzed by indirect immunofluorescence and flow cytometry. MoAbs used were directed at myeloid (CD11b, CD13, CD14, CD15, CD33, CD41), lymphoid (CD2, CD3, CD7, CD9, CD10, CD19), or stem cell (HLA-DR, CD34, c-kit receptor) antigens, as well as the leukocyte integrins CD18 and CD49e, and the transferrin receptor CD71. Of the myeloid markers, CD13 and CD33 were the most useful diagnostically (71% and 79% of cases positive, respectively), with CD11b, CD14, and CD15 less commonly positive. A minority of cases expressed lymphoid antigens, either T cell (CD2 16%, CD3 7%, CD7 28%) or B cell (CD10 2%, CD19 7%). CD34 was detected on 42% and c-kit receptor on 48%. When patients were analyzed for response to treatment, CD2, CD9, and CD14 were significantly associated with complete remission rate: cases expressing these antigens had a poorer response than negative cases. In univariate analysis, CD11b+ cases had shorter periods of remission (relative risk of relapse, 2.33; P = .003) and shorter survival (relative death rate, 1.91; P = .006). In multivariate analysis, adjusting for other prognostic factors, CD9 and CD11b were significantly predictive of shorter survival. No other marker had a significant predictive effect. We conclude that myeloid MoAbs are useful in confirming the diagnosis of AML, but their prognostic value may be limited to CD11b. Lymphoid antigen expression is a consistent phenomenon in a minority of cases of AML, but appears to have little clinical significance.