The DNA of paired tumour and blood leucocyte samples from a large series of breast cancer patients was analysed to map regions of loss of heterozygosity on chromosome 17. The high frequency of loss of heterozygosity on 17p was confirmed, and a third of informative tumours had also lost an allele at the long arm locus THH59. On the short arm two distinct regions of loss of heterozygosity were identified, in bands p13-3 and p13-1. The latter probably involves the structural gene p53, which has been implicated as an oncogene or as a tumour suppressor in various human cancers. 17p 13-3, however, showed a significantly higher frequency of loss of heterozygosity, and there was no correlation between allele losses at the two sites. Nevertheless, loss of heterozygosity at 17p 13-3 is associated with overexpression of p53 mRNA, suggesting the existence of a gene some 20 megabases telomeric of p53 that regulates its expression. Lesions of this regulatory gene seem to be involved in the majority of breast cancers.