We have identified, isolated, and partially characterized doc-1, a novel cDNA sequence whose activity is consistent with a suppressor of hamster oral carcinogenesis. Doc-1 is an evolutionarily conserved gene exhibiting loss of heterozygosity and marked reduction in expression in malignant hamster oral keratinocytes. The full-length doc-1 cDNA encodes an 87 amino acid product that shows a significant homology to one of the seven novel genes induced in mouse fibroblasts by TNF-alpha. Transfection of the full-length doc-1 cDNA into malignant hamster oral keratinocytes alters the behavior of the recipients in terms of morphology, growth rate, and anchorage-independent growth, suggesting reversion of transformation phenotypes. We propose that doc-1 is a novel tumor suppressor gene in oral cancer development.