In this study, blood samples were taken from 200 patients with childhood acute leukaemias, including acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), and from 100 healthy volunteers (controls). The frequency of the human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-DRB1*04 allele was significantly higher, and the frequencies of the HLA-A23 and HLA-B7 antigens were significantly lower, in patients with ALL compared with controls. Among patients with AML, the frequency of the HLA-B49 antigen and the HLA-DRB1*15 allele were significantly higher, whereas the frequencies of the HLA-A11 and HLA-B38 antigens were significantly lower compared with controls. The frequency of the HLA-DRB1*04 allele was also significantly higher in male patients with ALL and AML, whereas the HLA-DRB1*13 allele was found significantly less frequently in male AML and female ALL patients than in controls. To date, this is the only study to evaluate the associations between HLA molecules and leukaemia in a Turkish population with acute childhood leukaemia.