The sensitivity of detection of residual disease by two IgH PCR strategies, fluorescent framework 3 (Ffr3) and allele-specific oligonucleotide probing (ASOP), was compared in 57 ‘remission’ BM samples obtained from 19 children with B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Oligonucleotide probing was more sensitive than FFr3 PCR in 10/16 cases, achieving a sensitivity of 0.01% or greater in 15/16 cases. Comparable sensitivities were obtained in the six remaining cases; the FFr3 PCR achieving a sensitivity of 0.1% or greater in 14/16 cases. 39/57 ‘remission’ BM samples analysed showed no evidence of MRD by either technique although 18 were positive by ASOP and 14 positive by FFr3 PCR. The level of disease was estimated to be 0.01% or less in the four false negative samples.