Using a panel of DNA probes for hypervariable DNA regions we screened 52 gastrointestinal carcinomas for clonal allele losses on chromosomes 1, 5, 7, 12, 16 and 17. A total of 24/35 informative cases of colorectal cancers showed loss of constitutional heterozygosity at a locus on chromosome 17p, while 9/31 cases informative for a locus on 5q showed allele loss. Loss of sequences at 5q was linked to allele loss at 17p with a single exception. In gastric cancers loss of heterozygosity most frequently occurred at 1q (5/10 tumours) and at 12q (6/11 tumours). Gastrointestinal tumours show consistent chromosomal losses and the loci involved are different in gastric and colorectal cancers.