Trisomy 3, trisomy 5, and an X additional chromosome are the most frequent chromosome aberrations in angioimmunoblastic lymphadenopathy with proteinemia (AILD)-type T-cell lymphomas. To evaluate the frequency of +3 and +X clones, fluorescence in situ hybridization studies with centromere-specific probes for chromosome 3 and X were done in 41 patients with peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTL). With this interphase cytogenetic approach, 32 of 41 patients (78%) showed +3 clones, and 14 patients (34%) +X clones. These frequencies far exceeded those observed with metaphase cytogenetics (+3, 41%; +X, 20%). Summing up the results of metaphase and interphase cytogenetics, aberrant clones were found in 37 of 41 patients with PTL (90%) and 32 of 36 patients with AILD-type T-cell lymphoma (89%). Although AILD-type T- cell lymphoma is considered a neoplastic disease, it is an exception in that it shows a high frequency of cytogenetically unrelated clones and single cells that cannot be derived from a common cell of origin because of their completely different karyotypes. In five patients, double hybridization with centromere-specific probes for chromosomes 3 and X showed that these aberrations occurred in different cells. When the results of metaphase and interphase cytogenetics were combined, 17 of 36 patients with AILD-type T-cell lymphoma (47%) had unrelated clones. This high frequency of oligoclonal proliferations may be caused by increased genetic instability and an immune defect resulting in impaired elimination of aberrant cells.