We have used a combination of restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) markers and highly informative microsatellite polymorphisms to map a common region of deletion on chromosome 8p in cancers of the urinary bladder. Analysis of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) using microsatellite polymorphisms was shown to be at least as sensitive as detection of RFLPs by Southern blotting. A total of 110 tumours was analysed for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) on 8p and 8q; 109 patients were informative for at least one marker on each chromosome arm and 29 tumours (26%) showed LOH of chromosome 8 markers, 26 of which (25%) showed LOH on 8p. Sixteen tumours (14%) showed LOH on 8q. Thirteen of these also had LOH on 8p. Of the 29 tumours with LOH, five had LOH at all informative loci, indicating loss of an entire copy of chromosome 8. An association was found between high tumour grade and stage and chromosome 8 LOH. Fifty-three per cent of grade 3 muscle-invasive tumours showed LOH compared with 11% of grade 1 non-invasive tumours (0.01 < P < 0.025 and 0.025 < P < 0.05 for grade and stage respectively). Deletion mapping of tumours with chromosome 8 LOH suggests the presence of a suppressor gene(s) for urothelial cancer within a region defined by the loci NEFL and PLAT (8p21-q11.2). If there is a common target for deletions in bladder and those in hepatocellular and colorectal tumours reported previously, this defines a common region of deletion at 8p21.3.