Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and microsatellite instability (MSI) have been recognized as important events in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC), suggesting involvement of both suppressor and mutator pathways. We analyzed 153 HNSCC with 8 Bethesda reference panel markers and 14 microsatellite markers selected from chromosomal regions known to harbor either tumor-suppressor genes or oncogenes. A combination of multiplex fluorescence-based polymerase chain reaction and automatic fragment analysis was performed. LOH was observed in 78% of all tumors. 2% to 17% LOH frequency was observed with Bethesda reference panel markers comparing to higher 8% to 48% LOH in chromosomal areas 3p, 9p, 11q, and 17p. LOH of 11q14.3 correlated with tumor grade. The proportions of high- and low-MSI tumors were 3% and 10%, respectively, but no mutation was identified in MLH1 and MSH2 mismatch repair genes. These results indicate the dominant role of the suppressor in comparison with the mutator pathway in HNSCC carcinogenesis.