Frequent allelic losses on the long arm of chromosome 22 (22q) in gliomas indicate the presence of tumor suppressor gene (TSG) at this location. However, the target gene(s) residing in this chromosome are still unknown and their putative roles in the development of astrocytic tumors, especially in secondary glioblastoma, have not yet been defined. To compile a precise physical map for the region of common deletions in astrocytic tumors, we performed a high-density loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis using 31 polymorphic microsatellite markers spanning 22q in a series of grade II diffuse astrocytomas, anaplastic astrocytomas, primary glioblastomas, and secondary glioblastomas that had evolved from lower grade astrocytomas. LOH was found at one or more loci in 33% (12/36) of grade II diffuse astrocytomas, in 40% (4/10) of anaplastic astrocytomas, in 41% (26/64) of primary glioblastomas, and in 82% (23/28) of secondary glioblastomas. Characterization of the 22q deletions in primary glioblastomas identified two sites of minimally deleted regions at 22q12.3-13.2 and 22q13.31. Interestingly, 22 of 23 secondary glioblastomas affected shared a deletion in the same small (957 kb) region of 22q12.3, a region in which the human tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-3 (TIMP-3) is located. Investigation of the promoter methylation and expression of this gene indicated that frequent hypermethylation correlated with loss of TIMP-3 expression in secondary glioblastoma. This epigenetic change was significantly correlated to poor survival in eight patients with grade II diffuse astrocytoma. Our results suggest that a 957 kb locus, located at 22q12.3, may contain the putative TSG, TIMP-3, that appears to be relevant to progression to secondary glioblastoma and subsequently to the prognosis of grade II diffuse astrocytoma. In addition, the possibility of other putative TSGs on 22q12.3-13.2 and 22q13.31 that may also be involved in the development of primary glioblastomas cannot be ruled out.