Rapid and sustained engraftment following autotransplantation with peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) depends on adequate numbers of stem cells and progenitor cells. In this study we have compared the number of myeloid progenitor cells quantitated using the colony forming units-granulocyte macrophage (CFU-GM) clonogenic assay with the number of CD34+ cells estimated both by flow cytometry and by the alkaline phosphatase anti-alkaline phosphatase (APAAP) technique. We have analysed 15 peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNC) samples from 13 normal subjects and 179 PBMNC from 32 patients undergoing PBSC harvests during the recovery phase of high dose cyclophosphamide chemotheraphy. The number of CD34+ cells measured by the APAAP technique correlated well with the number of CD34+ cells measured by flow cytometry (r = 0.727, p = 0.0001), and also with the number of CFU-GM measured in the clonogenic assay (r = 0.721, p = 0.0001). The APAAP method provides a rapid, reliable measure of progenitor cell levels that can be used to monitor the optimal time to harvest peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC), and to estimate the marrow repopulating ability (MRA) of stem cell preparations used for transplantation.