Transgenic mice overexpressing the pim-1 oncogene in their lymphoid compartments are predisposed to T-cell lymphomagenesis but only to the extent that approximately 10% of the transgenic mice develop lymphomas within 34 weeks after birth. Recently, we have shown that lymphomagenesis in pim-1 transgenic mice can be accelerated by infecting pim-1 transgenic mice with murine leukemia viruses or by treating the mice with a relatively low dose of 60 mg of the carcinogen N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) per kg of body weight. Here we describe the incidence of tumors as a function of the dose of ENU. Either 200, 15, 4, 1, or 0.1 mg/kg ENU was injected into transgenic and control mice and the tumor incidence was monitored. T-cell lymphomas developed in 100 and 70% of the pim-1 transgenic mice treated with 200 and 15 mg/kg ENU, respectively. Approximately 20% of the Emu-pim-1 transgenic mice developed lymphomas after treatment with either 4, 1, or 0.1 mg/kg ENU. The nontransgenic mice developed lymphomas only after injection with 200 mg/kg (45%). The data show that Emu-pim-1 transgenic mice are approximately 25-fold more susceptible to ENU-induced lymphomagenesis than control mice. In most tumors the expression of c-myc was strongly elevated, probably as a direct or indirect effect of ENU. Analysis of the lymphomas for ras mutations revealed that approximately 10% of the lymphomas bear a ras mutation. The data indicate that at least some of these mutations are not the direct result of alkylation by ENU but rather represent spontaneous mutations that occurred later in the tumorigenic process.