Cytogenetic investigations of bladder cancer suggested that development and progression is characterized by specific chromosomal aberrations. In order to identify genetic changes linked to muscle invasive tumors and metastatic growth we analyzed 67 bladder carcinomas (30 pT1 and 37 pT2-4) by means of comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). The most frequent changes were gains of chromosome 1q (54%), 8q (54%), 17q (49%), 2p (30%), 12 (30%), 5p (25%), 3q (24%) and 6p (24%) as well as losses of 11p (43%), 8p (42%), 9p (36%), 11q (34%), 2q, 4q, 5q (30% each), 9q (27%) and 10q (27%). Previously not described amplifications were found at 5p11-p13, 7q21-q31, 9p24 and 17q24-q25. Gains of 3q, 7p, and 18p were markedly more frequent in pT2-4 in comparison to pT1 carcinomas but the difference did not reach statistical significance. Non-metastatic tumors showed more aberrations on average than metastatic carcinomas, although no particular change was found to be predominating in either group. Our data confirm previous findings of strong genetic similarities between minimally and deeply invasive bladder carcinomas but argue for differences between metastatic and non-metastatic disease.