Genome-wide microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) was used to identify common chromosomal alterations involved in cervical carcinogenesis as a first step towards the discovery of novel biomarkers. The genomic profiles of nine squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and seven adenocarcinomas (AdCAs), as well as four human papillomavirus (HPV)-immortalized keratinocyte cell lines, were assessed. On a genomewide scale, SCCs showed significantly more gains than AdCAs. More specifically, there was a striking and highly significant difference between the two histological types for gain at 3q12.1-28, which was predominantly observed in SCC. Other frequent alterations included gains of 1q21.1-31.1 and 20q11.21-13.33, and losses of 11q22.3-25 and 13q14.3-21.33. Subsequent FISH analysis for hTR, located at 3q26, confirmed the presence of 3q gain in SCCs and HPV-immortalized cell lines. Fine mapping of chromosome 20q using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) showed copy number increases for a number of genes located at 20q11-q12, including DNMT3B and TOP1. For DNMT3B, this correlated with elevated mRNA expression in 79% of cases. In conclusion, the assessment of frequent genomic alterations resulted in the identification of potential novel biomarkers, which may ultimately enable a better risk stratification of high-risk (hr)-HPV-positive women. Copyright © 2006 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.