We have studied 107 bone and soft-tissue sarcomas and 8 lipomas for amplification of the MDM2 gene. This gene was amplified in 3 out of 67 osteosarcomas, 3 out of 20 malignant fibrous histiocytomas, 4 out of 20 liposarcomas, and 4 out of 8 lipomas. The amplification was associated with overexpression of mRNA. In osteosarcomas, contrary to previous findings, all amplifications were observed in primary lesions. In liposarcomas, the amplification was seen exclusively in well-differentiated tumors with high frequency (4/5) but not in other subtypes (0/15). In addition, MDM2 amplification was also frequently found in deep-seated intra- or intermuscular lipomas (4/5). Hence, it is suggested that MDM2 amplification plays a significant role in the development of differentiated adipose-tissue tumors. Three well-differentiated liposarcomas with MDM2 amplification coexisted with high-grade dedifferentiated sarcomas, in which MDM2 amplification was also observed. Interestingly, in 2 of these cases, the grades of amplification correlated with the histological grades, indicating an important role of MDM2 overexpression in tumor progression.