A total of 127 adult de novo acute myelocytic leukemia (AML) patients were analyzed by comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) at diagnosis. Conventional cytogenetic analysis (CCA) showed a normal karyotype in 45 cases and an abnormal karyotype in 56 cases; in the remaining cases, CCA either failed to yield sufficient metaphase cells (19/26) or was not done (7/26). Abnormal CGH profiles were identified in 39 patients (30.7%). DNA copy number losses (61%) were high compared to gains (39%), whereas partial chromosome changes (76%) were more common than whole chromosomes changes (24%). Recurrent losses were detected on chromosomes 7, 5q (comprising bands 5q15 to 5q33), 7q (7q32∼q36), 16q (16q13∼q21), and 17p, and gains were detected on chromosomes 8, 22, and 3q (comprising bands 3q26.1∼q27). Furthermore, distinct amplifications were identified in chromosome regions 21q, 13q12∼q13, and 13q21.1. No cryptic recurrent chromosomal imbalances were identified by CGH in cases with normal karyotypes. The concordance between CGH results and CCA was 72.5%. In the remaining cases, CGH gave additional information compared to CCA (20%) and partially failed to identify the alterations previously detected by CCA (7.5%). The majority of discrepancies arose from the limitations of the CGH technique, such as insensitivity to detect unbalanced chromosomal changes when occurring in a low proportion of cells. CGH increased the detection of unbalanced chromosomal alterations and allowed precise defining of partial or uncharacterized cytogenetical abnormalities. Application of the CGH technique is thus a useful complementary diagnostic tool for CCA in de novo AML cases with abnormal karyotypes or with unsuccessful cytogenetics. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.