Alterations of chromosome 8, including deletions of 8p, occur frequently in many tumors. In this study, fluorescence in situ hybridization was used to study the relationship between 8p deletions, 8q gains, and phenotype in bladder cancer. Cells from 87 tumors were examined by dual-labeling fluorescence in situ hybridization with a centromere 8 probe (pJM12) and P1 probes for 8p22, 8p12, 8q12, and 8q24. Both 8p22 deletions and 8q24 gains were strongly associated with tumor phenotype. There was a marked difference in 8p22 deletions between noninvasive (pTa) tumors (3/33) and minimally invasive (pT1) tumors (8/19; P = 0.005) whereas there was no significant difference between pT1 and muscle-invasive (pT2-4) tumors (19/35; P = 0.3926). Six tumors with 8p22 deletion were examined at 8p12. Three of these tumors showed no 8p12 deletion, narrowing down the site of a putative tumor suppressor gene distal to 8p12. In one other case, there was a marked increase in 8p12 copy number (> 40 per cell; amplification), suggesting the presence of an oncogene involved in bladder cancer at 8p12. The marked difference in 8p22 deletions between noninvasive (pTa) and minimally invasive (pT1) tumors is consistent with a role of a putative tumor suppressor gene on 8p for development of invasive tumor phenotype.