We investigated five Japanese patients with autopsy-proven corticobasal degeneration (CBD) both clinically and pathologically, and examined the distribution of their cerebral cortical lesions in hemisphere specimens. The lesions were classified into three categories (slight, moderate and severe). Only two of our patients had clinical features considered to be typical of CBD. Severe lesions were present in the posterior portions of the frontal lobe, anterior to the precentral gyrus in two patients with the clinical diagnosis of CBD. By comparison, in two patients with clinically diagnosed frontal Pick's disease, and one with the clinical diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), severe lesions were seen in the anterior portions of the frontal lobe. The primary motor area of all five had mostly slight to moderate lesions. We postulate that the clinical features of CBD have a much wider spectrum than previously believed. Our data also indicate that the lesion responsible for limb-kinetic apraxia in CBD is in the premotor cortex. We suggest that when the anterior portions of the frontal lobe are damaged, the clinical picture mimics those of Pick's disease and PSP. In addition, we consider that focal cerebral atrophy of CBD is multicentric.