The hypothesis that tumors arising in a particular organ site impose a characteristic plasma free amino acid (PFAA) pattern was tested by analyzing PFAA in fasting venous blood of preoperative patients with breast cancer, gastrointestinal tract cancer, and head and neck cancer. Healthy volunteers served as control subjects. Levels of 28 PFAA were determined in blood samples using an amino acid analyzer, and the data were compared using discriminant analysis and chi-square testing. Compared with control subjects, the concentrations of seven amino acids (glutamine, threonine, histidine, cysteine, alanine, arginine, and ornithine) in patients with tumors correlated closely with the known diagnoses. By means of discriminant analysis, these seven amino acids had the highest correlation with the specific diagnoses, indicating that PFAA profiles correlate diagnostically with the organ-site origin of three different kinds of malignant tumors.