In this study in vitro results obtained with hu rec IFN-alpha 2b on Ph1+ stem cells from patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia in chronic phase (CML in CP) will be discussed: cells were incubated with different IFN concentrations (100, 1000, 10000 IU/ml) for different times (24, 96 hrs, 8, 15, days) and maintained in long term marrow cultures (LTMC); CFU-GM assay, cytochemistry and cytogenetic analyses were performed weekly. A high sensitivity of CML cells to the in vitro treatment with IFN was observed. Cell count in LTMC showed a progressive reduction inversely proportional to time of incubation and concentration of IFN; a marked decrease in colony growth was observed at the end of incubations and during the course of LTMC. Low concentrations of IFN permitted a morphological maturation and the expression of alkaline phosphatase. Cytogenetic analyses showed a marked reduction of mytoses in cultures treated with high concentrations of IFN as result of a combined cytostatic and cytolitic effect; the persistance of 100% Ph1+ cells in LTMC and in CFU-GM colonies might be related, as opposed to in vivo results, to different IFN exposure conditions or might be influenced by other factors.