AIMS--To evaluate the immunoreactivities of neoplastic and non-neoplastic monocytoid B cells (MBC) and compare them with hairy cell leukemia (HCL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). METHODS--An immunohistochemical study of paraffin wax embedded sections was done on surgically resected specimens of spleens with MBC clusters from patients with gastric cancer (14 cases), tonsils (five cases), and lymph node (two cases) showing lymphoid follicular hyperplasia (LFH), submandibular lymph nodes containing MBC in Sjögren's syndrome (one case). Extranodal organs affected by MCL (three cases) and monocytoid B cell lymphoma (MBCL) (seven cases), and spleens from HCL (four cases) were also studied. These specimens were fixed in 10% formalin and routinely processed for paraffin wax embedding. Fresh spleen specimens from patients with liver cirrhosis (one case) and gastric cancer (seven cases) were snap frozen. RESULTS--Mantle zone lymphocytes were DBA.44, CD74 positive and showed a weaker reaction for CDw75 than marginal zone lymphocytes and MBC, which were almost DBA negative. In neoplastic diseases tumour cells in MCL were DBA.44, CD74, and CDw75 positive. MBCL showed a positive reaction for CD74 and CDw75, but positivity for DBA.44 was observed in only one of seven cases. The HCL specimens, all positive for DBA.44, showed a weaker reaction for CD74 and a stronger reaction for CDw75 than either MCL and MBCL specimens. CONCLUSION--These results show that mantle zone lymphocytes and MCL more closely matched HCL for reactivity to DBA.44 than MBC and MBCL. Reactivities for DBA.44 and CDw75 were greater in MBCL compared with its non-neoplastic counterpart, MBC.