The alterations in gene expression associated with 1,25(OH)(2) D-3 -induced differentiation of HL-60 cells were studied in order to identify potential targets for further investigation of the genetic basis of acute myeloid leukaemia. Atlas human haematology filters, including 406 genes (Clontech), were used to study gene expression in response to 1,25(OH)(2) D-3 (concentration, 5 x 10(-8) mol/l) for 24 and 72 h. Compared with untreated cells, expression differences were found in 43 genes. Downregulated genes at both time-points were: IL2RA , CMYC , NPM , DEK , AF4 , FLI1 , htlf , MNDA , BCR , IKAROS , BPI and NFAT4 . Upregulated genes at both time-points were IL1B , CD14 and MCL1 . CD55 , CD58 , IRF2 , CREB1 , ATF4 , RAC1 , TIAR , KIAA0053 , BAT2 , BTK , RCK , EV12B and EDN were downregulated at 24 h, while SPI1 , MKK3 , BTG1 and IL8 were upregulated. At 72 h the upregulated genes were IL1RA , IL2RG , CXCR4 , SCYA1 , SCYA3 , SCYA4 , SCYA5 , SCYA22 , ANX2 , CD83 and UPAR . cDNA array results were confirmed on randomly selected genes using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction for three upregulated (CXCR4 , IL1B and CD14 ) and three downregulated (DEK , AF4 and FLI1 ) genes. Gene expression analysis after differentiation induction may provide a tool to study the roles of DEK , AF4 and FLI1 in cell proliferation and differentiation. To demonstrate the genes that initiate differentiation, sequential gene expression analysis has to be performed during the first 24 h of the differentiation process.