Although the occurrence of loss of genetic material in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been documented both by cytogenetic analysis and by monitoring of allelic losses, a global overview of the extent and frequency of deletion occurring throughout the genome is not yet available. To contribute to this information, DNAs extracted from flow-sorted aneuploid nuclei from HCC and matched normal DNAs were typed for 275 microsatellite loci that were distributed along the autosomes. An average of 190 (69%) informative loci per case were generated on 48 HCC. Complete loss of heterozygozity in the tumor DNA was observed for 15.6% of the typed loci. The chromosome segments that were most frequently affected by deletion were: 8p (60%), 17p (48%), 1p (44%), 4q (42%), 16p (40%), 16q (39%), 6q (35%), 9p (30%), and 13q (29%). On average, 8 of the 39 chromosome segments studied per tumor carried at least one locus that demonstrated loss of heterozygosity (ie., the fractional allelic loss was 0.21). Groups of concerted nonsyntenic losses were observed for 16p and 1p and for 16p and 4q. The location of putative tumor suppressor genes on the most frequently deleted regions was confirmed and, in some cases, refined.