Deletions of the 3p21.3 region are a frequent and early event in the formation of lung, breast, kidney and other cancers. Intense investigation of allelic losses and the discovery of overlapping homozygous deletions in lung and breast tumour-cell lines have defined a minimal critical 120 kb deletion region containing eight genes and likely to harbor one or more tumour-suppressor genes (TSGs). The candidate genes are HYAL2, FUS1, Ras-associated factor 1 (RASSF1), BLU/ZMYND10, NPR2L, 101F6, PL6 and CACNA2D2. Recent research indicates that several of these genes can suppress the growth of lung and other tumour cells. Furthermore, some genes (RASSF1A and BLU/ZMYND10) are very frequently inactivated by non-classical mechanisms such as promoter hypermethylation resulting in loss of expression. These data indicate that the 120 kb critical deletion region at 3p21.3 may represent a TSG cluster with preferential inactivation of particular genes depending on tumour type. The eight genes within this region and their potential role in cancer will be the focus of this review.