We have analysed the frequency of killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) in cohorts of patients from Turkey with acute lymphocyte leukaemia (n = 52), acute myeloid leukaemia (n = 54) and chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) (n = 52) and compared the results with 154 controls. We also examined the frequencies of human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-C groups, -Bw4, -Bw6 and where appropriate the combination of the KIR gene and its ligand. We found several statistically significant results between the patients and the controls. We proposed a model in CML of protection via KIR2DL2 and/or KIR2DS2 with the presence of the ligand HLA-C1 group and susceptibility via HLA-Bw4 homozygosity (i.e. absence of HLA-Bw6).