Radiographically occult bronchogenic squamous cell carcinomas are early lung cancers that localize mainly in the bronchial wall, and are thought to be a good model for investigating genetic alterations through lung cancer progression. In order to elucidate sequential genetic changes in lung cancers, we analysed the incidence of allelic losses on chromosome regions 2q33, 3p21, 5q21, 7q31, 9p21 and 17p13 for 40 cases of radiographically occult bronchogenic squamous-cell carcinomas and 40 cases of advanced lung cancers microdissected. In this study we used eight microsatellite dinucleotide polymorphic markers. Frequent loss of heterozygosity (LOH) was observed on 3p21 (53%), 5q21 (44%) and 17p13 (61%) in roentgenographically occult bronchogenic squamous cell carcinomas. 2q, 7q and 9p were lost less frequently in both roentgenographically occult bronchogenic squamous cell carcinomas and advanced lung cancers. These results suggest that several tumour-suppressor genes are associated with lung cancer progression and that genetic changes on 3p21, 5q21 and 17p13 are early events.