Neuroblastoma is the commonest extracranial solid tumour in children. There are a number of molecular genetic features known which are of prognostic importance and which are used to direct therapy. Identification and targeting of high-risk individuals with intensive therapeutic regimens may allow an improvement in survival rates. The most powerful biological parameters associated with prognosis in this malignancy are chromosomal changes, especially MYCN amplification, deletion of chromosome 1p and aneuploidy. Rapid characterization of these aberrations at the time of diagnosis is paramount if stratification according to risk group is to be achieved. This paper describes the rapid detection of del(1p), MYCN amplification and trisomy using interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization on imprints from fresh tumour biopsies. The results are related to those obtained by standard molecular methods and karyotyping.