Between November 1982 and November 1986 31 patients with acute myeloid leukaemia underwent peripheral blood stem cell apheresis during haemopoietic regeneration following induction chemotherapy. A retrospective analysis of the factors affecting the efficacy of stem cell harvest and of the clinical outcome of these patients was performed. The mean number of myeloid progenitor cells (CFU-GM) collected was significantly higher in the complete remission group (n = 22) than in the partial remission group (n = 9). Fifty x 10(4) CFU-GM/kg body weight or more, which produced rapid, complete and sustained haemopoietic reconstitution after autografting in our patients, were collected from six of nine patients who underwent three or four 7-litre aphereses over 5-7 days using a lymphocyte collection procedure on the Fenwal CS3000 [Protocol B] but only from two of 12 patients who underwent three or four 5-litre aphereses over 3-5 days using the Aminco Celltrifuge [Protocol A] (p less than 0.05). No adverse effects on the rates of neutrophil, platelet and lymphocyte recovery after induction chemotherapy or on long-term disease-free survival for patients who achieved a complete remission could be attributed to apheresis when compared with a historical control group of 39 patients who achieved complete remission following the same induction chemotherapy but did not undergo apheresis. We conclude that sufficient numbers of peripheral blood stem cells to produce safe and rapid haemopoietic reconstitution can be collected from most patients who achieve complete remission using apheresis Protocol B without impairment of haemopoietic recovery or adversely affecting the length of complete remission.