The DCC (deleted in colorectal cancer) candidate tumor suppressor gene spans greater than 1350 kilobases at chromosomes 18q21.1 and encodes a transmembrane protein of unknown function. Although DCC is expressed in a number of adult tissues, its expression is highest in the brain and we have, therefore, undertaken studies to determine if DCC inactivation might contribute to tumors arising there. Decreased or absent DCC protein expression was noted in more than 50% of the thirty brain tumors studied. Although specific mutations in the DCC gene were not identified, a variety of mechanisms appeared to contribute to the altered DCC expression, including allelic loss, aberrant splicing of transcripts and allele-specific loss of transcripts. In total, the data suggest that DCC inactivation may be important in brain tumor pathogenesis.