The leptin receptor is a member of the cytokine receptor superfamily, and is expressed in CD34 haemopoietic stem cells. We examined expression of the leptin receptor in fresh human leukaemia cells. Northern blot analysis showed the leptin receptor was expressed in leukaemic cells from patients with acute myeloblastic leukaemia, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). In CML, higher expression was observed in blast crisis than in chronic phase. The expression of leptin receptor decreased during in vitro differentiation of leukaemic blast cells. It appeared that expression of the leptin receptor was associated with immature leukaemic blast cells. Our findings may indicate the possibility that leptin has some role in leukaemia.