Commercial Marek's disease (MD) vaccines produced by two manufacturers were tested for possible contamination with avian leukosis virus (ALV). Samples of MD vaccines manufactured by two companies (A and B) were received from a breeder company; samples were also received directly from vaccine company B. Using virus isolation tests, samples initially tested positive for subgroup E (endogenous) ALV. However, upon repassage, the vaccines also tested positive for exogenous ALV. The isolated exogenous ALV proved to be a subgroup A virus, as determined by flow cytometry using polyclonal chicken antibodies specific for various subgroups of ALV, and by DNA sequencing of the envelope glygoprotein (gp85). The exogenous ALV isolated from MD vaccines was inoculated in chickens from ADOL lines 15I5 × 71 and 0 to determine its pathogenicity and compare it with that of Rous-associated-virus–1 (RAV-1), the prototype strain of ALV-A. Each chicken from each line was inoculated with approximately 10,000 infectious units of RAV-1 or the ALV-A isolated from vaccines termed B-39 virus at 7th day of embryonation. At hatch, and at 4, 8, and 16 wk of age, chickens were tested for viremia and cloacal shedding; chickens were also observed for ALV-induced tumors within 16 wk of age. Viremia and cloacal shedding results suggest that chickens from both lines were susceptible to infection with either virus. Within 16 wk of age, the proportion of ALV tumors induced by strain B-39 in line 0 and line 15I5 × 71 chickens was 0% and 12%, respectively, compared with 62% and 67% in chickens inoculated with RAV-1. The data indicate that commercial MD vaccines produced by two manufacturers were contaminated with endogenous subgroup E and an exogenous subgroup A ALV. Further, data from biological characterization suggest that the ALV-A isolated from commercial MD vaccines is of low oncogenicity, compared with that of RAV-1.GenBank accession numbers: The gp85 gene sequences of ALV isolated from commercial Marek's disease vaccines have been deposited in GenBank and assigned the following accession numbers: A46 subgroup A, DQ412726 ; B53 subgroup A, DQ412727; A46 subgroup E, DQ412728; B53 subgroup E, DQ412729.