The role of somatic deletions in chromosome 9 and chromosome 22 loci in hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) was studied. Twenty-one paired HCC and adjacent tumor-free liver tissue samples were examined for loss of heterozygosity at six chromosome 9 and ten chromosome 22 loci. Among informative cases, the highest LOH rates were observed at 9p21 (40% or 4/10 at IFNA) and 9q23 (23% or 3/13 at D9S318). Our observed LOH rate at 9p21 was significantly higher than the background level previously reported for the same tumor type. Clinical data indicate that chromosome 9p21 deletions occurred preferentially in larger tumors (>5 cm diameter). However, a sequence analysis of the MTS1 gene coding region in cases of 9p21 LOH did not reveal any change, suggesting another tumor suppressor gene as the LOH target.