The aims of this study were to correlate cytogenetic studies and molecular genetic loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analyses in human astrocytomas and mixed oligo-astrocytomas, and to locate putative tumor suppressor genes on chromosome 10. Paired blood and tumor samples from 53 patients were analyzed. The tumors included 45 diffuse astrocytomas (39 grade 4, 4 grade 3, and 2 grade 2), 1 astroblastoma, and 7 mixed oligo-astrocytomas (2 grade 4, 4 grade 3, and 1 grade 2). By cytogenetic analyses the most common numeric chromosome abnormalities were +7, -10, -13, -14, -17, +19, -22, and -Y. The most common structural abnormalities involved chromosome arms 1p, 1q, 5p, and 9p. By LOH and dosage analysis the most common molecular genetic abnormalities were of chromosome arms 5p, 6p, 7q, 9p, 10p, 10q, 13q, 14q, 17p, and 19p. When the results of all methods were combined, the most commonly abnormal chromosomes were, in descending frequency, 10, Y, 17, 7, 13, and 9. In 80 percent of cases the cytogenetic and molecular genetic studies were concordant. LOH studies were more sensitive in detecting loss of genetic material than cytogenetic analyses and accounted for 60% of the discordant results. When there were structural abnormalities, such as translocations or inversions, cytogenetic analysis was more sensitive in detecting an abnormality than molecular genetic studies. In addition to the 24 tumors which appeared to lose an entire copy of chromosome 10, there were 10 tumors with molecular genetic or cytogenetic evidence of loss of only a portion of chromosome 10. The genetic analyses of these tumors suggest that there are 2 regions on chromosome 10 that may contain potential tumor suppressor genes. One lies distal to locus D10S22 from 10q22 to 10qter, and the other lies proximal to locus TST1 on the 10q arm near the centromere or on the 10p arm.