A quality control study on DNA flow cytometry, extended to 43 national laboratories, has been carried out by the Italian Group of Cytometry, using defined fixed suspensions of cultured human leukemia K562 cells and human blood lymphocytes. The participating laboratories were allowed to follow their own staining and measurement protocols. Aliquots of cellular suspension had to be measured three times on the same day and two other times on different days. A large heterogeneity of procedures emerged among participants. The average of mean DNA index laboratory values, from 36 laboratories who sent evaluable data, was 1.68, with a range from 1.49 to 1.97. The coefficients of variation ranged from 2.35 to 9.39% and from 2.79 to 8.5% for diploid and aneuploid peaks, respectively. Statistical analysis of the results showed quite good intralaboratory reproducibility, but statistically significant differences were observed among laboratories, for both DNA indices and coefficients of variation. These differences appear to be consistent. For standardization, it is essential that efforts should be made to identify the main sources of variation and to control them. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.