Osteosarcoma (OS) is an aggressive bone tumor with complex abnormal karyotypes and a highly unstable genome, exhibiting both numerical- and structural-chromosomal instability (N- and S-CIN). Chromosomal rearrangements and genomic imbalances affecting 8q24 are frequent in OS. RECQL4 gene maps to this cytoband and encodes a putative helicase involved in the fidelity of DNA replication and repair. This protective genomic function of the protein is relevant because often patients with Rothmund-Thomson syndrome have constitutional mutations of RECQL4 and carry a very high risk of developing OS. To determine the relative level of expression of RECQL4 in OS, 18 sporadic tumors were studied by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. All tumors overexpressed RECQL4 in comparison to control osteoblasts, and fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis of tumor DNA showed that expression levels were strongly copy number-dependent. Relative N- and S-CIN levels were determined by classifying copy number transitions within array comparative genomic hybridization profiles and by enumerating the frequency of break-apart fluorescence in situ hybridization within 8q24 using region-specific and control probes. Although there was no evidence that disruption of 8q24 in OS led to an elevated expression of RECQL4, there was a marked association between increased overall levels of S-CIN, determined by copy number transition frequency and higher levels of RECQL4.