Gene amplification is a common feature of tumors. Overexpression of some amplified genes plays a role in tumor progression. Gene amplification can occur either extrachromosomally as double-minute chromosomes (dmin) or intrachromosomally in the form of homogeneously staining regions (hsrs). Approximately one-half of our oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs) are characterized by amplification of band 11q13, usually as an hsr located entopically (occurring or situated at the normal chromosomal site, as opposed to ectopically). Using chromosomal fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), we confirmed the amplification of the cyclin D1 (CCND1/PRAD1) and fibroblast growth factor types 3 and 4 (FGF3/INT2 and FGF4/HSTF1) genes within the 11q13 amplicon in our series of primary OSCCs and derived cell lines. The human RIN1 gene was isolated as an RAS interaction/interference protein in a genetic selection in yeast and has been described as a putative effector of both the RAS and ABL oncogenes. We mapped RIN1 to 11q13.2. FISH analysis of 10 11q13-amplified OSCC cell lines revealed high-level RIN1 amplification in two cell lines. Three additional cell lines have what appear to be duplications and/or low-level amplification of RIN1, visible in both interphase and metaphase cells. The hybridization pattern of RIN1 on the metaphase chromosomes is particularly revealing; RIN1 signals flank the 11q13 hsr, possibly as a result of an inverted duplication. The gene amplification model of Coquelle et al. (1997) predicted that gene amplification occurs by breakage-fusion-bridge (BFB) cycles involving fragile sites. Our data suggest that the pattern of gene amplification at 11q13 in OSCC cell lines is consistent with a BFB model. RIN1 appears to be a valuable probe for investigating the process of gene amplification in general and, specifically, 11q13 amplification in oral cancer.