Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is associated with germline mutations in DNA mismatch repair genes, predominantly MSH2 and MLH1. Mutation carriers develop cancers in the colorectum, endometrium, ovary, stomach, small intestine and the upper urinary tract. We describe here the results of a mutational analysis of 11 unrelated HNPCC patients by direct genomic sequencing of MLH1 and MSH2. The alterations found include 7 novel changes and 4 different pathogenic mutations described previously in Poland, Moldavia, Finland, Germany, France and USA. Four novel pathogenic mutations in the MLH1 gene include two frameshift mutations (c.1150delG and c.1210_1211delCT), one missense mutation (c.793C>A) and one intron-exon border mutation (c.546- 2A>C). The last change resulted in the skipping of exon 7, as shown by sequencing of RT-PCR products. The only novel MSH2 pathogenic change was a nonsense mutation c.1129C>T. The novel intronic change c.381-41A>G in MLH1 was found in a patient carrying a previously-described mutation in the MSH2 gene. Interestingly, two unrelated patients carried also a novel change in the promoter region of MLH1 in one of the CpG islands (c.-269C>G). However, this alteration does not abrogate transcription, as shown by RT-PCR analysis. In summary, most (approximately 80%) pathogenic germline mutations detected in the studied group of patients by direct genomic sequencing of MLH1 and MSH2 were located in the MLH1 gene. These and previous data indicate that the majority of germline point mutations and small deletions/insertions in HNPCC families in Slovakia affect the MLH1 locus.