Homozygous deletions of the putative tumour-suppressor gene CDKN2, which encodes an inhibitor of cdk4, have been detected in a high percentage of cancer cell lines of various histological types. In the present study, 109 human sarcomas were examined for homozygous deletions and for mRNA expression levels of the CDKN2 gene. Altogether, deletions were found in only eight (7%) of the cases, but, interestingly, in two (of eight) malignant Schwannomas and in two (of five) rhabdomyosarcomas. In comparison, such deletions were seen in only one (of 21) osteosarcomas and in none of 20 MFHs and 21 liposarcomas. Notably, highly elevated CDKN2 mRNA levels were found in 33% of the sarcomas, whereas no detectable transcript was present in 12 normal tissues. Amplifications of CDK4 and CCND1 (cyclin D1) were observed in 11% and 4% of the sarcomas respectively, but never in tumours with CDKN2 deletions. The level of CDK4 mRNA expression was increased in nine tumours in addition to the 12 samples with CDK4 amplification. Increased levels of the cyclin D1 transcript was found in 37 cases, four with and 33 without amplification. The data indicate that aberrations of these functionally related genes, or in regulation of the expression of the kinase, the activator or the inhibitor, may participate in sarcoma development. Furthermore, the data suggest that homozygous CDKN2 deletions may be of dissimilar significance in different sarcoma subtypes.