The MTS1 gene on chromosome 9p21 encodes the p16 inhibitor of cyclinD/Cdk-4 complexes, and is deleted or mutated in a variety of tumour types. We found allelic deletions of 9p21-p22 in 85% of pancreatic adenocarcinomas. Analysis of MTS1 in pancreatic carcinomas (27 xenografts and 10 cell lines) showed homozygous deletions in 15 (41%) and sequence changes in 14 (38%). These included eight point mutations (four nonsense, two missense and two splice site mutations) and six deletions/insertions, all accompanied by loss of the wild-type allele. Sequencing of MTS1 from primary tumours confirmed the mutations. Coexistent inactivations of both MTS1 and p53 was common and suggests that abnormal regulation of cyclin-dependent kinases may play an important role in the biology of pancreatic carcinoma.