The development of primary human brain tumors, particularly glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), has been associated with a number of molecular and chromosomal abnormalities. In this study, a novel tumor suppressor locus was identified and localized after the transfer of a human chromosome 4 into U251 human GBM cells. Hybrid clones containing a transferred neomycin-resistance tagged chromosome 4 revealed an inability to form tumors in nude mice and a greatly decreased efficiency of soft agarose colony formation. As a control, clones containing a transferred chromosome 2 were generated, and these retained the tumorigenic phenotype of the parental U251 cells. The presence of the transferred chromosomes was demonstrated by gain of polymorphic loci and FISH analyses. Several suppressed hybrid clones were shown to contain spontaneously reduced versions of the transferred chromosome 4. A common region of the fragmented chromosome 4 was retained among these clones that included the epidermal growth factor locus at 4q24-26 and several adjacent markers. The identification of a common fragment in the suppressed clones suggests the presence of a tumor suppressor gene or genes in this region, involved in glioma oncogenesis.