Loss of chromosome 1 short arm material, resulting from terminal deletions or unbalanced translocations, is a frequent finding in advanced neuroblastoma. In translocations, often relatively small portions of a second chromosome are translocated to the chromosome 1 short arm. The chromosomal origin of this translocated material could often not be identified using banding analysis only. Recent studies, applying fluorescent in situ hybridisation, showed that in the majority of these translocations, chromosome 17 is involved. In this study, the nonrandom occurrence of unbalanced 1;17 translocations is further supported by their presence in 3/7 neuroblastoma cell lines. Analysis of the 1p breakpoints extends our earlier observation of breakpoint heterogeneity. A similar scattering of 17q breakpoints was observed. The 1p and 17q breakpoints of the constitutional 1;17 translocation did not coincide with any of the 1;17 translocation breakpoints found in neuroblastoma cell lines. Cell lines, not containing 1;17 translocations, contained other chromosome 17 rearrangements. As a result, extra copies of 17q are found in all cell lines, suggesting a role for genes on 17q in neuroblastoma development. The possible significance of 1;17 translocations in neuroblastoma is discussed.