We have used a combination of high throughput functional genomics, computerized database mining and expression analyses to discover novel human tumor suppressor genes (TSGs). A genome-wide high throughput cDNA phenotype screen was established to identify genes that induce apoptosis or reduce cell viability. TSGs are expressed in normal tissue and frequently act by reduction of growth of transformed cells or induce apoptosis. In agreement with that and thus serving as platform validation, our pro-apoptotic hits included genes for which tumor suppressing activities were known, such as kangai1 and CD81 antigen. Additional genes that so far have been claimed as putative TSGs or associated with tumor inhibitory activities (prostate differentiation factor, hRAS-like suppressor 3, DPH2L1-like and the metastasis inhibitor Kiss1) were confirmed in their proposed TSG-like phenotype by functionally defining their growth inhibitory or pro-apoptotic function towards cancer cells. Finally, novel genes were identified for which neither association with cell growth nor with apoptosis were previously described. A subset of these genes show characteristics of TSGs because they (i) reduce the growth or induce apoptosis in tumor cells; (ii) show reduced expression in tumor vs. normal tissue; and (iii) are located on chromosomal (LOH-) loci for which cancer-associated deletions are described. The pro-apoptotic phenotype and differential expression of these genes in normal and malignant tissue make them promising target candidates for the diagnosis and therapy of various tumors.