We have performed microdissection of 16 putative homogeneously staining regions (hsrs) from nine different breast cancer cell lines in order to determine their chromosomal origin and composition. As expected, the most commonly amplified chromosomal band-region was 17q12 (containing ERBB2). However, regions not containing known oncogenes were also identified, including 13q31 (5/9 cases) and 20q12-13.2 (4/9 cases). The chromosomal composition of the integrated amplified DNA within each hsr was determined and in 13/16 cases (81%), hsrs were shown to be composed of two or more chromosomal regions. These studies shed light on the mechanism of formation of hsrs, and identify chromosomal regions likely to harbour genes amplified in breast cancer.