We have isolated a human cDNA encoding a 115-amino-acid polypeptide that revealed 97% identity to a candidate tumor suppressor gene for oral cancer in Mesocricetus auratus (deleted in oral cancer-1; doc-1). It also showed a high degree of homology to a gene induced by TNF-alpha in Mus musculus. To investigate its possible role in esophageal carcinogenesis, we examined genetic alterations and expression levels of the gene in 13 esophageal carcinoma cell lines and 10 primary esophageal carcinomas. No mutation nor reduction of expression was observed in any of the 23 cancer materials examined. These results imply that the human doc-1 homologue is unlikely to play a significant role in esophageal carcinogenesis, although its role in the TNF-alpha signaling pathway remains unclear. We mapped DOC1 to chromosome band 12q24.31 by fluorescence in situ hybridization.