Summary. Genetic polymorphisms in the tumour necrosis factor (TNF) locus influence the outcome of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). We investigated whether these polymorphisms might contribute to the clinical course of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Genomic DNA from 214 childhood ALL patients was analysed. Patients with a high-risk haplotype were older than patients with low-risk haplotype (P = 0·024). No statistically significant associations were found between TNF haplotype and sex, WBC counts, central nervous system involvement, immunophenotype, response to chemotherapy, and event-free survival. These data suggest that genetic polymorphisms in the TNF locus have a limited effect on the outcome of childhood ALL.