The 9p21 region of human chromosome 9 is a hot spot for chromosomal aberrations in both cultured cell lines and primary tumors. This region contains a gene, P16 (also called MTS1, CDKN2 and p16INK4), that encodes a presumptive negative cell cycle regulator called p16. P16 is deleted or mutated at high frequency in a variety of tumor cell lines including melanoma and bladder carcinoma lines. As such, it is likely to be a tumor suppressor gene. Here we show that P16 is mutated in primary bladder carcinomas (3 of 33) and melanomas (5 of 34). These findings support studies that show P16 mutations are not solely a product of growth in tissue culture but rather are involved in formation of tumors in viva. Some bladder primary tumors and some bladder and melanoma tumor cell lines contain mutations in both P16 and P53 at frequencies that suggest that p53 and p16 function in different pathways, each of which is important in suppressing malignant transformation.