Cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) is an aggressive tumour with a high metastatic potential. Deletions of chromosome 9p have been detected in CMM, some of which involve the CDKN2A/p14ARF genes. Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of 16 microsatellite markers on 9p and mutations in the CDKN2A/p14ARF genes had been previously studied in 32 melanoma patients by our group. 9p deletions were detected in 15 primary tumours (45.5%) and are here correlated with the clinical outcome over 5 years and compared with classical prognostic factors. Eight of the 32 patients developed metastases (25%). The metastases were all detected within 768 days of the initial diagnosis. The patients without metastases were last monitored at least 1621 days after diagnosis. None of the 21 patients with more than eight microsatellites conserved developed metastases, whereas all of the eight patients who developed metastases had eight or more markers deleted. The sensitivity of this analysis to predict metastases was 100% (specificity 84%), whereas the sensitivity for the same sample using a Breslow thickness > 3 mm was 62.5% (specificity 68%). LOH of eight or more of the 9p microsatellite markers is therefore a useful prognostic factor to predict the development of metastases in the first 4.4-6.3 years (1621-2294 days).