Deletion, rearrangement, or amplification of sequences mapping to chromosome 8 are frequently observed in human prostate and other tumors. However, it is not clear whether these events alter the transcriptional activity of the affected genes. To examine this question, we have utilized oligonucleotide microarray technology and compared the transcriptional patterns of normal human prostate tissues and five immortalized cell lines carrying either two normal chromosomes 8 or one normal and one derivative chromosome 8. Comparison of the transcriptional profiles of the tissues and cell lines identified 125 differentially expressed transcripts specific to chromosome 8, with 46 transcripts mapping to 8p and 79 transcripts mapping to 8q. The majority of genes mapping to 8p (44/46, 96%) were transcriptionally down-regulated in cells hemizygous for 8p, whereas the majority of genes mapping to 8q (58/79, 73%) were up-regulated in cells carrying three copies of 8q. Moreover, hemizygous alleles on 8p exhibited sub-haploinsufficient transcript levels for several genes that could be induced to haploinsufficient levels under hypomethylating conditions, suggesting that epigenetic regulation is a common mechanism for gene silencing in cells deleted for one copy of 8p. The results of these studies clearly demonstrate that alterations of gene copy number and transcriptional activity are directly correlated in cell lines harboring derivative chromosomes 8, and that these events are commonly observed during cellular immortalization in vitro.