Familial acromegaly/gigantism occurring in the absence of multiple endocrine neoplasia type I (MEN-1) or the Carney complex has been reported in 18 families since the biochemical diagnosis of GH excess became available, and the genetic defect is unknown. In the present study we examined 2 unrelated families with isolated acromegaly/gigantism. In family A, 3 of 4 siblings were affected, with ages at diagnosis of 19, 21, and 23 yr. In family B, 5 of 13 siblings exhibited the phenotype and were diagnosed at 13, 15, 17, 17, and 24 yr of age. All 8 affected patients had elevated basal GH levels associated with high insulin-like growth factor I levels and/or nonsuppressible serum GH levels during an oral glucose tolerance test. GHRH levels were normal in affected members of family A. An invasive macroadenoma was found in 6 subjects, and a microadenoma was found in 1 subject from family B. The sequence of the GHRH receptor complementary DNA in 1 tumor from family A was normal. There was no history of consanguinity in either family, and the past medical history and laboratory results excluded MEN-1 and the Carney complex in all affected and unaffected screened subjects. Five of 8 subjects have undergone pituitary surgery to date, and paraffin-embedded pituitary blocks were available for analysis. Loss of heterozygosity on chromosome 11q13 was studied by comparing microsatellite polymorphisms of leukocyte and tumor DNA using PYGM (centromeric) and D11S527 (telomeric), markers closely linked to the MEN-1 tumor suppressor gene. All tumors exhibited a loss of heterozygosity at both markers. Sequencing of the MEN-1 gene revealed no germline mutations in either family, nor was a somatic mutation found in tumor DNA from one subject in family A. The integrity of the MEN-1 gene in this subject was further supported by demonstration of the presence of MEN-1 messenger ribonucleic acid, as assessed by RT-PCR. These data indicate that loss of heterozygosity in these affected family members appears independent of MEN-1 gene changes and suggest that a novel (tissue-specific?) tumor suppressor gene(s) linked to the PYGM marker and expressed in the pituitary is essential for regulation of somatotrope proliferation.