For elucidation of the growth-regulatory mechanisms in prostatic carcinoma, in vitro investigations on prostatic cell cultures are required. However, one major problem of cell culturing is the selection of particular cell types such that the cell lines representing only some of the features as compared with the tumor of origin. We studied the chromosomal composition of 20 prostatic tissue-derived cell cultures and 12 original (fresh) tissue specimens that were obtained from 13 patients with prostatic adenocarcinoma. Using fluorescence in situ DNA hybridization (FISH), evident clonal abnormalities were detected in 78% of the fresh cancer samples and in 47% of the cultured cancer samples. Of the seven cases revealing clonal abnormalities in the fresh cancer specimen, aneuploidy was detected in only two samples after cell culturing at the earliest passage studied. The aneuploid cell populations in the cultured samples were all lost during progressive subcultivation (after passage 4). Interestingly, by performing FISH on cytogenetic preparations aneuploidy was confined to the interphases, with the metaphases being found to be diploid. This finding indicates that the aneuploid cells have a proliferation disadvantage in cell culture resulting in an overgrowth of diploid cells.