Posterior uveal melanomas have nonrandom alterations affecting chromosomes 3, 6, and 8. Loss of chromosome 3 in uveal melanoma has been shown to act as a predictor of disease-free and overall survival. To confirm the significance of chromosome 3 loss and to extend the observations to include those of the associated alterations of chromosome 8, we have conducted a cytogenetic analysis on a series of 42 tumours from patients with primary uveal melanoma who were followed up for a median of 31 months (range = 8-96 months). Abnormalities of chromosomes 3 and 8 were the commonest changes and were confirmed in 10 tumours using fluorescence in situ hybridization. Monosomy of chromosome 3 was found in 21 (50%) of the tumours, and 23 (54%) tumours had additional copies of 8q. Alterations of chromosomes 3 and 8 were found occurring together in 19 (45%) of the tumours and were significantly associated with a ciliary body component (P < 0.0001). Prognostic indicators and changes of chromosomes 3 and 8 were analysed for correlation with patient survival. Of the chosen parameters, only ciliary body involvement (P = 0.003), monosomy of chromosome 3 (P = 0.0007), and additional copies of 8q (P = 0.003) correlated with reduced survival. Evaluation of the dosage effect of additional copies of chromosome arm 8q showed a significant association with reduced survival (P = 0.0001), which was also predictive of a decreased disease-free interval (P = 0.01). Thus, the cytogenetic analysis of uveal melanoma may provide a valuable predictor of prognosis.