Mast cells are now known to derive from CD34+ haemopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow. However, it has not yet been established whether the various types of mastocytosis, which involve tumour-like proliferation of mast cells, are true neoplastic disorders or reactive/hyperplastic conditions. In this study, tissue specimens (five bone marrow, two spleen, one skin) from female patients with histologically confirmed mastocytosis were investigated with a recently developed polymerase chain reaction assay for the determination of clonality of female cells using the human androgen receptor gene (HU-MARA). Mast cells purified to near homogeneity from hysterectomy specimens served as a control. The findings in bone marrow and skin either were not reproducible, or indicated polyclonality. However, both spleen specimens exhibited monoclonality. In addition, DNA analysis by flow cytometry was performed and revealed a diploid chromosome content with proliferation indices of under 8% in all the specimens. This is the first molecular biological study to indicate that mastocytosis is indeed neoplastic in nature.