The authors investigated the role of somatic mutations of the neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) gene in sporadic meningioma. Neurofibromatosis 2 is a dominantly inherited familial tumor syndrome predisposing affected patients to a variety of central nervous system tumors including vestibular schwannoma and meningioma. Neurofibromatosis type 2 is caused by germline mutations in the NF2 tumor suppressor gene. In addition, the authors and others have reported that somatic NF2 gene mutations occur frequently in nonfamilial vestibular schwannoma. In this study, molecular genetic analysis was performed on 23 nonfamilial meningiomas. Paired DNA samples extracted from the blood and tumors of the patients were analyzed for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in the region of the NF2 gene on chromosome 22 using closely linked DNA markers. The NF2 gene mutations were sought by single-stranded conformation polymorphism analysis and DNA sequencing. Fourteen (61%) of 23 meningiomas showed LOH in the region of the NF2 gene on chromosome 22. Somatic NF2 gene mutations were detected in eight meningiomas (35%) after screening all 17 exons. All tumors with NF2 gene mutations showed simultaneous chromosome 22 LOH. Review of the histopathological findings of the cases studied did not demonstrate any predominance of genetic abnormalities in a particular histological type of meningioma. These results are compatible with the hypothesis that the NF2 gene acts as a tumor suppressor and that its inactivation is important in the pathogenesis of sporadic meningioma.