In a previous study we demonstrated high expression of the non-coding BIC gene in the vast majority of Hodgkin's lymphomas (HLs). Evidence suggesting that BIC is a primary rmcroRNA transcript containing the mature microRNA-155 (miR-155) as part of a RNA hairpin is now accumulating. We therefore analysed HL cell lines and tissue samples to determine whether miR-155 is also expressed in HL. High levels of miR-155 could be demonstrated, indicating that BIC is processed into a microRNA in HL. Most non-HL subtypes were negative for BIC as determined by RNA-ISH. However, in diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and primary mediastinal B cell lymphoma (PMBL), significant percentages of positive tumour cells were observed in 12/18 and 8/8 cases. A higher proportion of tumour cells were positive for BIC in DLBCL with activated B cell-like phenotype than in DLBCL with germinal centre B cell-like phenotype. Differential BIC expression was confirmed by qRT-PCR analysis. Northern blot analysis showed expression of miR-155 in all DLBCL and PMBL derived cell lines and tissue samples analysed. In summary, we demonstrate expression of primary microRNA BIC and its derivative miR-155 in HL, PMBL and DLBCL. Copyright (c) 2005 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.