Chromosome 9p21 gene copy number in Ewing's sarcoma family of tumour (ESFT) cell lines and primary ESFT has been evaluated using Multiplex Ligation-dependent probe amplification, and the clinical significance of CDKN2A loss and p16/p14(ARF) expression investigated. Homozygous deletion of CDKN2A was identified in 4/9 (44%) of ESFT cell lines and 4/42 (10%) primary ESFT; loss of one copy of CDKN2A was identified in a further 2/9 (22%) cell lines and 2/42 (5%) tumours. CDKN2B was co-deleted in three (33%) cell lines and two (5%) tumours. Co-deletion of the MTAP gene was observed in 1/9 (11%) cell lines and 3/42 (7%) tumours. No correlation was observed between CDKN2A deletion and clinical parameters. However, co-expression of high levels of p16/p14(ARF) mRNA predicted a poor event-free survival (P=0.046, log-rank test). High levels of p16/p14(ARF) mRNA did not correlate with high expression of p16 protein. Furthermore, p16 protein expression did not predict event-free or overall survival. Methylation is not a common mechanism of p16 gene silencing in ESFT. These studies demonstrate that loss (homozygous deletion or single copy) of CDKN2A was not prognostically significant in primary ESFT. However, high levels of p16/p14(ARF) mRNA expression were predictive of a poor event-free survival and should be investigated further.