Ewing sarcoma (ES) is the second most common primary malignant tumor of bone in children and young adolescents. Most ES contain a pathognomonic translocation t(11;22)(q24;q12) that is likely a pivotal event in the tumorigenesis of these neoplasms. Many ES also contain nonrandom, numerical chromosomal aberrations, the most common of which are trisomies 8 and 12. In this study we evaluated the hypothesis that these trisomies might occur during neoplastic progression and might be associated with differences in biologic behavior. We tested this hypothesis using a combined cytogenetic and dual color fluorescence in situ hybridization approach to determine chromosome 8 and 12 copy number in 52 ES. Relative gains, primarily trisomies, of chromosomes 8 and 12 were found in 24 (46%) and 17 (33%) cases, respectively. Trisomy 8 and trisomy 12 were independent events acquired in a flexible order during ES genetic progression. Our preliminary findings also suggest a higher frequency of trisomies 8 and 12 in relapses than in primary tumors. Prospective studies will be required to determine whether either trisomy is prognostic in newly-diagnosed ES.