Recurrent genomic alterations are the hallmarks of particular cancers. Application of molecular cytogenetic technologies to tumour material in order to detect these alterations has become important for molecular diagnostics and research. A dual-colour chromogenic in situ hybridization (dc-CISH) method described recently in the Journal of Pathology has the advantage of visualizing two probes simultaneously with the ability to discern morphological features. In addition, the bright field microscopy required is readily accessible to many laboratories. The approach has been validated by comparison of results with standard analyses for HER-2 amplification status in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded breast cancers and is applicable to the analysis of other clinically relevant genomic aberrations as well as of use in research investigations. Copyright (c) 2006 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.