The PTEN/MMAC1/TEP1 gene, located at 10q23.3, is a tumor suppressor gene responsible for the familial cancer syndromes Cowden disease and Bannayan-Zonana syndrome, and is commonly somatically mutated in several types of cancers. Mutations of the PTEN gene have been found in prostate cancer cell lines and LOH at 10q22-24 in prostate tumors have also been described with a high frequency. To determine the role of this gene in prostate tumorigenesis, we therefore analysed 22 primary tumors for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) within the 10q22-23 region such that tumors hemizygous at those loci may be examined for somatic PTEN mutations. Losses of heterozygosity of at least one locus was found in 12 (55%) of the 22 tumors DNAs. Among these, six tumors exhibited allele loss in the interval between D10S1765 and D10S541 wherein lies the PTEN gene. We searched the entire coding region of PTEN for somatic mutations in these six tumors. One somatic mutation (17%), a 1 bp deletion, was detected in exon 7 of the gene, in one tumor, indicating that somatic mutations of the PTEN gene may occur in primary prostate tumors.