Amplification of chromosome arms 3q and 5p and deletion of 3p were frequently detected in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) with comparative genomic hybridization and loss of heterozygosity studies. To identify the minimal amplified or deleted regions in these arms, structural aberrations in chromosome arms 3p, 3q, and 5p in two NPC cell lines, CNE1 and SUNE1, were studied with multiplex-color FISH (M-FISH) and chromosome region-specific probes (CRP). All CRPs, which were generated from microdissected DNA, were specific and strong in intensity, and sensitive enough to detect chromosome aberrations including translocations, deletions, and amplifications of target regions. In these two NPC cell lines, minimal regions of deletion and amplification were found at 3p12 and 3q26 approximately q27, respectively. On 5p, most of the regions were amplified as intact copies. Interregion translocations of these three arms were also observed. The amplification on 3q26 approximately q27 provided useful hints for further screening the minimal amplification at RP11-115J24 (3q26.2), containing candidate oncogene eIF-5A2. M-FISH with CRPs is thus not only useful in revealing a comprehensive picture of structural aberrations in target chromosomes, but also in narrowing down the minimal region for screening cancer-related genes.