Colon cancer has been proved to be an excellent model to identify and to study the different genetic alterations taking part in its development. BRCA1, a susceptibility gene for breast cancer, has been identified. Evidence of a significant risk for colon cancer in BRCA1-linked families has been reported. We undertook the present study to investigate the possible relation of BRCA1 and other genes on chromosome 17q21 to colon cancer. Eighty-five tumors were examined for loss of heterozygosity at seven microsatellite loci spanning the 17q21 region. Loss of heterozygosity was present in 39 (49%) of the 79 informative cases, with at least one marker. Two loci, D17S855 and D17S579, showed higher rates of allelic loss (16% and 22%, respectively) than the remaining markers. Tumors on the right side of the colon exhibited allelic loss more frequently than those on the left side. Our data suggest that BRCA1 and other genes in the 17q21 region may play an important role in the development of colon cancer.