Abstract We have previously shown TP16 MTS1/CDK41 gene deletion in more than 50% of a cohort of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) patients using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We have performed fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) on paraffin-embedded SCCHN specimens from the same cohort to identify the deletion of TP16 MTS1/CDK41CDK41 gene. Twenty normal and 19 SCCHN specimens were studied. An α-satellite DNA probe specific for chromosome 9 and a cosmid probe for the TP16 MTS1/CDK41CDK41 gene were used. Of the 19 tumors examined by FISH, 6 had homozygous deletions, 7 were hemizygously deleted, and the remaining 6 showed no evidence of deletion of the TP16 MTS1/CDK41 gene. None of the normal specimens showed TP16 gene deletion. Data obtained from FISH highly correlated with the PCR results for the identification of TP16 MTS1/CDK41 gene deletions. Patients with deletion of the TP16 MTS1/CDK41 gene show a greater tendency toward the development of recurrence and metastasis.