Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common primary tumor occurring in the central nervous system of adults. Although progress has been made in clinical management of this tumor, little is known about the molecular defects underlying the initiation and progression of GBM. To address these issues, we have characterized five cases of GBM using cytogenetics, comparative genomic hybridization (CGH), fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and direct sequencing. All of these tumors were observed to have clonal chromosome aberrations. Complicated chromosome translocations including der(18)t(2;4;12;18), der(X)t(X;10)(q27.1;p12.1) and der(10)t(10;15)(p11.23;q11.2), and der(1) (:1p31-->1q44::7q11. 3-->7qter) were seen in three tumors. Loss of the CDKN2 gene was noted in four tumors. A gain of copy number of the Cathepsin L gene was seen in two tumors. Amplification of the CDK4, MDM2, and GLI/CHOP genes was noted in two tumors, and amplification of the PDGFR gene was detected in one tumor. Mutation of exon 5 of the TP53 gene was found in three tumors. No mutation of the BCL10 gene was detected in five cases of GBM analyzed, although deletion of chromosome 1p was seen in two tumors. These results provide information for further investigation of GBM.