A novel recurrent translocation t(11;14)(p11;q32) was found in three patients with splenic marginal zone B cell lymphoma (MZBCL). Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) studies with IgH probes revealed in all cases involvement of the IgH locus, with breakpoint downstream of the IGVH sequences. Partner genes at 11p11 were not identified. The translocation defined the stem line in two patients, who carried additional cytogenetic aberrations, including a 17p deletion, present in both cases. In one patient a 7q- chromosome was the primary cytogenetic defect, the t(11;14) having been found in four out of 11 abnormal metaphase cells at the time of transformation into high-grade MZBCL. Hematological features in all cases included splenomegaly with peripheral blood (PB) involvement by a monoclonal B cell population consisting of lymphocytes with villous projections and several blast-like cells. The immunophenotype was CD19+; CD22bright+; CD23-, CD10-, CD5-, surface Igbright+. A bone biopsy in one patient revealed an interstitial infiltration with an intrasinusoidal pattern of growth. Histological studies on spleen specimens in two patients showed an expanded marginal zone, with small lymphocytes and several blast-like cells. One patient had a therapy-demanding disease, with partial, short-term responses to cytotoxic treatment; one patient transformed into a high-grade MZBCL involving the gut, the PB and the bone marrow 2 years after diagnosis; one patient was unresponsive to cytotoxic treatment and underwent splenectomy. The t(11;14)(p11;q32) may define a subset of splenic MZBCL with a high-grade component and a relatively aggressive clinical behavior.