Background Transforming growth factor α (TGFα) is a peptide growth factor known to be expressed in normal haemopoiesis. It is also expressed in a range of epithelial neoplasms but has not been assessed in haemopoietic malignancies. We have performed an immunohistochemical evaluation of TGFα in acute and chronic myeloid malignancies. Methods TGFα expression was semiquantitatively assessed in 69 normal bone marrow trephines and 157 cases of myeloid malignancy using an immunohistochemical approach. Results Blast cells of myeloid origin in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), myelodysplasia and accelerated and blast phases of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) were TGFα positive. In acute promyelocytic leukaemia the neoplastic cells had significantly weaker TGFα expression than seen in other forms of AML. The blast cells in CML-accelerated and blast phases were positive with similar expression to AML. Conclusions TGFα is expressed in neoplastic myeloblasts and could, therefore, be used as blast cell biomarker in diagnostic haematopathology. In addition, TGFα immunohistochemistry may be of use in identifying a therapeutic target.