A series of 195 human gliomas were studied as to the status of their CDKN2A, CDK4 and RB1 genes. Among 120 glioblastomas, 40% had no wild-type CDKN2A gene, 12% amplified the CDK4 gene, and 14% had no wild-type RBI gene. With two exceptions, each tumour had only one of these abnormalities. Thus the majority of the glioblastomas (64%) had distinct genetic aberrations which would obviously disrupt the control of transition from G1 to the S-phase of the cell cycle. A further 30% had loss of one allele of the CDKN2A and/or RBI genes. Only seven (6%) glioblastomas had no abnormalities of these genes. Anaplastic astrocytomas showed similar changes to the glioblastomas but at lower frequencies-34% showing no aberrations of the genes analysed. The astrocytomas showed solely loss of one allele of the RBI gene in 28% of tumours, with retention of one wild-type copy. In the glioblastomas with no alterations of CDKN2A, CDK4 or RB1, several other genes (CCND1, CCND2, CCND3, CDK6, E2F, CDK7, MYC and MYCN) whose products take part in cell cycle regulation were examined. No abnormalities were detected. Thus some aberration of the CDKN2A, CDK4 and RB1 genes appears to be almost obligatory in glioblastomas.