The significance of tumor cell contamination in marrow and peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) collections of patients with solid tumors remains controversial. Various methods have been developed to purge tumor cells from autologous stem cell products, including CD34+ selection. PBSC harvests from patients with Ewing family of tumors (EFT) were analyzed for contaminating tumor cells prior and after CD34+ selection using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and flow cytometry (FC) analyzes. The expression of CD34 was studied by RT-PCR and FC in 14 primary tumors and 13 PBSC harvests, respectively. Tumor cells were identified in the harvests by both methods. In two patients, contaminating tumor cells were evident by RT-PCR only after positive selection. FC analysis confirmed a higher level of tumor cells in the CD34+ fraction. In an attempt to explore this finding, expression of CD34 was detected in 93% of primary tumors and 67% of contaminated harvests. As CD34 is expressed on EFT cells, these cells may be enriched following CD34+ selection of harvests, although the total number of tumor cells is reduced. Other methods of purging, rather than CD34+ selection, should be explored in patients with EFT undergoing autologous stem cell transplantation.Bone Marrow Transplantation.