To clarify the correlation of genomic alterations with clinical and histological features, we performed metaphase comparative genomic hybridization analysis on 20 primary cutaneous melanomas, which were obtained by laser capture or manual microdissection, and 16 melanoma cell lines. There were no differences in the average number of aberrations between acral melanomas (AM) and non-AM, although gains of 5q and 11q13 were more frequent (P=0.05) and 10q loss was less frequent (P=0.01) in AM than in non-AM. Although tumor thickness is considered a measurable estimate of clinical expression, there were no differences in the average number of aberrations among 4 groups, classified by thickness of the tumor. While the majority of aberrations were equally distributed among the 4 groups, 6p gains were found only in the thickest tumors. Patients with 6p or 1q gains had a lower overall survival rate than those without them (P=0.0002 or P=0.013). While gains of 1q, 2q, 3p, 3q, 7q, 20p, and 20q were more frequent in the cell lines than in the primary tumors (P<0.01), losses of 6q, 9p, 10p, and 10q were equally found in both cell lines and primary tumors. The present study showed that chromosomal aberrations had already occurred in the thinner tumors, and that 6p and 1q gains may be a prognostic factor.