Comparative genomic hybridization analysis was performed on 67 non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs), including 32 squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and 35 adenocarcinomas (ACs), to identify differences in the patterns of genomic imbalance between these two histologic subtypes. Among the entire tumor set, the chromosome arms most often overrepresented were 1q, 3q, 5p, and 8q, each detected in 50–55% of cases. The most frequently underrepresented arms were 9q, 3p, 8p, and 17p. The number of imbalances was similar in SCCs and ACs (median number/case: 12 and 11, respectively). Moreover, many imbalances, such as gains of 1q, 5p, and 8q, occurred at a high frequency in both histologic subgroups. Several statistically significant differences, however, were found. The most prominent difference was gain of 3q24-qter, seen in 81% of SCCs compared with 31% of ACs (P < 0.0001), with amplification at 3q25-26 being detected in eight of 32 (25%) SCCs but in only two of 35 (6%) ACs. Gain of 20p13 and loss of 4q also were seen at a significantly higher rate in SCCs than in ACs, whereas overrepresentation of 6p was more common in ACs. Gains of 7q and 8q each were associated with higher-stage tumors and either positive nodal involvement or higher tumor grade. These data suggest that genes located in several chromosomal regions, particularly 3q25-26, may be associated with phenotypic properties that differentiate lung SCCs from ACs. Furthermore, certain imbalances, prominent among them gains of 7q and 8q, may be indicative of tumor aggressiveness in NSCLCs. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.