Several somatic genetic alterations have been described in non-small-cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC). Recurrent chromosomal deletions have suggested the presence of tumor-suppressor genes specifically involved in lung carcinogenesis. For one of these, 2 non-overlapping regions have been proposed on the short arm of chromosome 8, encompassing the LPL and NEFL genes. The LPL region has been extensively studied in NSCLC and other cancer types. Two genes, N33 and PRLTS, have been identified, but the small number of mutations excludes their involvement in the vast majority of tumors. In order to delineate a reliable region of deletional overlap on chromosome 8p in NSCLC, a series of 77 NSCLC was studied for 34 microsatellite polymorphisms distributed on chromosome 8p, using multiplex-PCR amplification. After purification of tumor nuclei by flow cytometry based on either the abnormal DNA index or the presence of a high expression of cytokeratin, allelic losses on chromosome 8p were observed in 39% of cases. Measurement of DNA index showed that 62% of tumors were hyperploid; allelic losses were more frequent in hyperploid than in diploid tumors (54% vs. 14%; p < 10(-4)). Deletions of part of the short arm were observed in 7 instances. Our data allow definition of an interval of common deletion, flanked by the loci D8S511 and D8S1992, where the putative tumor-suppressor gene might be localized.