Deregulation of c-myc expression in association with chromosomal translocations occurs in over 95% of murine plasmacytomas, rat immunocytomas, and human Burkitt lymphomas. Infection with a murine retrovirus (J-3) containing an avian v-myc rapidly induced plasmacytomas in pristane-primed BALB/cAn mice. Only 17% of the induced plasmacytomas that were karyotyped showed the characteristic chromosomal translocations involving the c-myc locus. Instead, all of the translocation-negative tumors demonstrated characteristic J-3 virus integration sites that were actively transcribed. Thus, the high levels of v-myc expression have replaced the requirement for chromosomal translocation in plasmacytomagenesis and accelerated the process of transformation.