A common characteristic of cancer cells is unrestrained cell division. This may be caused by mutational changes in genes coding for components of cell cycle-controlling networks. Alterations in genes involved in G1 checkpoint control have been registered in many human tumours, and investigations from several laboratories show that such alterations, taken together, are the most frequent changes detected in cancer cells. The present paper describes mutational analysis by polymerase chain reaction-single-strand conformation polymorphism (PCR/SSCP) and nucleotide sequence analysis of the genes coding for the p15, p53 and N-ras proteins in 26 metastases from 25 melanoma patients. The registered mutation frequencies add together with previously registered mutations in p16 in the same patient samples to a substantial total frequency of 44% of patients with mutation in at least one of the investigated genes. These results show the occurrence of heterogeneous defects among components of the cell cycle controlling machinery in a human melanoma tumour sample collection and demonstrate that the total frequency of detected alterations increases with the number of cell cycle controlling genes included in the screening panel.