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Multitarget fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH; LAVysion, Vysis, Downers Grove, IL) targeting chromosomes 6p11-q11, 7p12, 8q24, and 5p15.2 was compared with results of microsatellite studies at chromosome 3p to identify molecular changes associated with tobacco use and tumor development in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Analyses were performed on 26 NSCLCs and matched benign bronchial epithelium; samples from 10 patients without NSCLC served as control samples.Significant molecular differences between tumor tissue and corresponding benign bronchi were found using FISH (P = .001) and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis (P = .031). Bronchial epithelium from patients with NSCLC was genetically different from epithelium from patients without NSCLC in FISH analysis (P = .025). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed an optimal cutoff value of 5% atypical cells for bronchial epithelium. There was no statistical correlation with the patient’s smoking history, and LOH analysis of bronchi did not differentiate between patients with and without NSCLC. Multicolor FISH analysis is able to detect a tumor-associated molecular field effect in bronchi adjacent to NSCLC.