Many complex traits, including susceptibility to lung cancer, are controlled by multiple genes--quantitative trait loci (QTLs). We facilitated the mapping of QTLs by making use of recombinant congenic strains (RCS), a system of mouse inbred strains in which the genetic complexity is reduced, and by applying MQM-mapping (multiple-QTL models or marker-QTL-marker), a multilocus method with an increased power of detecting of individual QTLs and interacting QTLs (epistasis). The mouse strain O20 develops significantly larger N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea induced lung tumours than mice of the RC strain OcB-9 (ref. 5); the latter share approximately 87.5% of their genes with strain O20 and 12.5% with strain B10.O20 (refs 6,7). QTL analysis of 222 (OcB-9 x O20) F2 mice revealed four new loci that influence susceptibility to lung cancer (Sluc genes). They are involved in two significant, partly counteracting interactions which mask their individual main effects: Sluc1 (on chromosome 19) interacts with Sluc2 (chromosome 2), and Sluc3 (chromosome 6) interacts with Sluc4 (chromosome 11). Together with the data of van Wezel et al. in the accompanying report, our results indicate that interactions between tumour susceptibility genes are a common phenomenon which complicates their mapping.