Within the subgroup of lymph node-negative breast cancers, there is a need for accurate prognostic indicators to select high-risk patients. Comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) provides an opportunity to screen the whole genome for chromosomal aberrations which may be associated with poor clinical outcome. The results of CGH analysis of 53 lymph node-negative breast carcinomas are presented and correlated with a set of clinico-pathological and cytometric features with strong prognostic value. The most frequent chromosomal gains were, in descending order of frequency, 8q, 1q, Xq, 5q, 4q, and 3q. Recurring losses were observed at chromosomal arms 19p, 1p, 17p, 22q, 4q, and 8p. There was not a single, unique combination of chromosomal aberrations, but gains of 1q and 8q were frequently observed simultaneously (15/53 cases). DNA aneuploid tumours harboured more gains than DNA diploid tumours, but there was no correlation between the total number of events per tumour detected by CGH and any of the prognostic features. Of the many chromosomal aberrations found, only gains of chromosome 8q were strongly correlated with high values of mean nuclear area. A clearer picture was obtained when comparing only those cases which, according to their cytometric and morphometric features, had either the worst or the best prognosis. Gains occurred mainly in the 'poor prognostic features' group, in particular at 8q, 11q13, 17q, and 20q. It is hypothesized that these gains could be late, progression-related events and may be associated with aggressive clinical behaviour. These four chromosomal regions may therefore be of potential prognostic value. Correlation with real follow-up data will enable us better to identify those patients who have a high risk of recurrence within the subgroup of lymph node-negative breast cancer patients.