The molecular pathogenesis of diffuse large-cell lymphoma (DLCL), the most frequent and clinically relevant type of lymphoma, is unknown. A gene was cloned from chromosomal translocations affecting band 3q27, which are common in DLCL. This gene, BCL-6, codes for a 79-kilodalton protein that is homologous with zinc finger-transcription factors. In 33 percent (13 of 39) of DLCL samples, but not in other types of lymphoid malignancies, the BCL-6 gene is truncated within its 5′ noncoding sequences, suggesting that its expression is deregulated. Thus, BCL-6 may be a proto-oncogene specifically involved in the pathogenesis of DLCL.