Human primary breast cancers were analysed for somatic loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at chromosome 18 with 15 polymorphic microsatellite markers. LOH was observed in 148 of the 228 cases analyzed, (65%). Three smallest common deletion regions (SCDR) were detected on the long arm of chromosome 18. The marker D18S51 at the region 18q22 showed the highest LOH (42%). Tumors with and without LOH at 18q were tested for association with clinico-pathological features of the tumors, such as estrogen and progesterone receptor content, age at diagnosis, tumor size, node status, histological type, S-phase fraction, DNA ploidy and LOH at other chromosomal regions. A significant association was found between LOH at 18q and high S-phase fraction (99.9% confidence interval) and low progesterone receptor content (99% confidence interval). Furthermore, an association was found between LOH at 18q and LOH at 1p, 7q, 9p, 13q and 17q. We conclude that there are three separate LOH target regions at chromosome 18q, and that inactivation of one or more genes at these regions might be important for human breast carcinogenesis.