Fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) has been used increasingly for gene mapping and ordering probes on interphase and metaphase preparations. The association of consistent chromosomal aberrations with certain malignancies allows the possibility of using interphase cytogenetics as a diagnostic tool. In small round cell tumours of children accurate diagnosis may be difficult using existing methods. We have therefore evaluated the diagnostic potential of this technique when applied to the characteristic t(11;22) found in Ewing's sarcoma and peripheral neuroectodermal tumour (ES and PNET). Interphase nuclei were prepared from normal human foreskin fibroblasts (HFF), two Ewing's sarcoma cell lines and several fresh tumour biopsies. DNA probes each side of the breakpoint at 22q12 were labelled with biotin and digoxygenin, hybridised to chromosomes in interphase and detected in different colours. Measurements between pairs of signals arising from each copy of chromosome 22 were taken and statistical analysis performed. There was a highly significant difference (P < 0.0001) between the two populations of measurements obtained (from nuclei with and without the t(11;22)). Studying four tumours and one further ES line (blind) it was found that median values from 30 nuclei could correctly identify which samples contained the t(11;22). This application of interphase cytogenetics contributes a reliable, accurate and conceptually simple diagnostic test for ES and PNET. It may now be applied to other tumours with characteristic translocations, amplifications or deletions when suitable probes are available. This approach is likely to become a routine in clinical diagnosis.