Astrocytoma is comprised of a group of common intracranial neoplasms that are classified into four grades based on the World Health Organization histological criteria and patient survival. To date, histological grade, patient age, and clinical performance, as reflected in the Karnofsky score, are the most reliable prognostic predictors. Recently, there has been a significant effort to identify additional prognostic markers using objective molecular genetic techniques. We believe that the identification of such markers will characterize new chromosomal loci important in astrocytoma progression and aid clinical diagnosis and prognosis. To this end, our laboratory used comparative genomic hybridization to identify DNA sequence copy number changes in 102 astrocytomas. Novel losses of 19p loci were detected in low-grade pilocytic astrocytomas and losses of loci on 9p, 10, and 22 along with gains on 7, 19, and 20 were detected in a significant proportion of high-grade astrocytomas. The Cox proportional hazards statistical modeling showed that the presence of +7q and -10q comparative genomic hybridization alterations significantly increased a patient's risk of dying, independent of histological grade. This investigation demonstrates the efficacy of comparative genomic hybridization for identifying tumor suppressor and oncogene loci in different astrocytic grades. The cumulative effect of these loci is an important consideration in their diagnostic and prognostic implications.