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In soft tissue sarcomas, clonal rearrangement of chromosomes has been shown by cytogenetic analysis to be unique and specific for tumor types. The development of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) has allowed detection of chromosomal rearrangements in the interphase nuclei isolated from paraffin-embedded tissues. Three kinds of translocations in the interphase nuclei that were isolated from 47 cases of soft tissue sarcomas were examined by FISH with chromosome-specific DNA probes of centromeric and total probes. Of 47 soft tissue sarcomas 42 (89.4%) revealed tumor-specific translocations by retrospective cytogenetic analysis. Translocation t(X;18) was detected in 25/28 synovial sarcomas; translocation t(11;22) in 5/6 Ewing's sarcomas and primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET); and translocation t(12;16) was found in 12/13 liposarcomas, including 10 myxoid and two round cell types as clonal chromosomal aberrations specific for both subtypes. Based on the cytogenetic analysis, Ewing's sarcoma is related closely with PNET as shown by MIC2-protein reactivity. Other cytogenetic findings of translocation t(12;16) indicate that round cell liposarcomas share chromosomal changes with myxoid liposarcomas, and further suggest that both tumor subtypes of liposarcoma may possess common precursor cells. FISH is a useful aid in determining the tumor type of soft tissue sarcomas with regard to histogenetic origin.