Genomic alterations of the human c-MYC gene were analysed in five human myeloma cell lines established in Kawasaki Medical School and compared with those of normal lymphocytes, Raji cells from Burkitt's lymphoma, and an Epstein-Barr virus positive lymphoblastoid cell line (LCL). Although no structural chromosome aberrations at 8q24, the c-MYC locus, were distinct, the mRNA level of c-MYC in these myeloma cell lines was 30–50-fold that in normal peripheral blood lymphocytes. Regarding the methylation of c-MYC, DNAs of the myeloma cell lines were digested with MspI plus EcoRI or HpaII plus EcoRI, and hybridized with three genomic 32P-labelled probes; the first, second and third exons of the human c-MYC gene, respectively. The extent of methylation in cytosine at a single CCGG site in the third exon substantially decreased in these myeloma cell lines as compared with that in normal tonsillar B, LCL and Raji cells. No significant differences in hypomethylation between these myeloma, normal B, LCL and Raji cells was detected in the first and second exon of c-MVC. These results suggest that the hypomethylation in the third exon of c-MYC might be related to the enhanced expression of c-MYC in these human myeloma cell lines.