To investigate what kind of genetic instability plays important roles in lung carcinogenesis, we analyzed micro- and minisatellite instability, loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and chromosome instability in 55 cases of lung cancer, including, 10 squamous cell, 5 large cell, and 3 small cell carcinomas, and 37 adenocarcinomas. Analysis of minisatellite instability, the mechanism of which is different from microsatellite instability, has not been reported previously. Minisatellite instability was detected in only one case (1/55, 1.8%), and the frequency of microsatellite instability was low, being found only in three cases (3/55, 5.5%). In contrast, LOH, for at least in one locus, was observed in 27 cases (49.1%). In adenocarcinomas, the frequency of LOH was higher in poorly differentiated compared to more differentiated carcinomas. For chromosome instability, a similar correlation between differentiation grade and instability was observed in adenocarcinomas. And instability was more common in large cell and small cell carcinomas than in adenocarcinomas. Our analysis showed that chromosome instability and LOH, rather than mini- and microsatellite instability, play significant roles in the development of lung cancer.