Comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) provides a molecular cytogenetic approach for genome-wide scanning of differences in DNA sequence copy number. The technique is now attracting wide-spread interest, especially among cancer researchers. The rapidly expanding database of CGH publications already covers about 1500 tumors and is beginning to reveal genetic abnormalities that are characteristic of certain tumor types or stages of tumor progression. Six novel gene amplifications, as well as a locus for a cancer-predisposition syndrome, have been discovered based on CGH data. CGH has now been established as a first-line screening technique for cancer researchers and will serve as a basis for ongoing efforts to develop high-resolution next-generation genome scanning, such as the microarray technology.