Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in specific chromosomal regions, which are likely to harbor tumor suppressor genes, has been associated with human gliomas. In this study we have analyzed astrocytic and oligodendroglial tumors for LOH on chromosomes 1 and 19. By microsatellite analysis LOH was found on chromosome arm 1p in 6/15 oligodendrogliomas WHO grade II and III, 12/25 oligoastrocytomas WHO grade II and III, 6/79 glioblastomas WHO grade IV, 5/44 astrocytomas WHO grade II and III and 0/23 pilocytic astrocytomas WHO grade I. The high incidence of LOH on chromosome arm 1p in oligodendrogliomas and oligoastrocytomas indicates that a putative tumor suppressor gene in this region is involved in the formation of gliomas with oligodendroglial features. Furthermore, the frequent involvement of chromosome arm 1p in oligodendrogliomas and oligoastrocytomas, but not in astrocytomas, suggests that genetically oligoastrocytoma is more similar to oligodendroglioma than to astrocytoma. In order to support this hypothesis, oligodendroglial and astrocytic areas in three mixed oligoastrocytomas were examined differentially for LOH 1p and for LOH 19q, the second genetic region believed to be affected in these tumors. All three tumors had LOH of 1p and LOH of 19q in both areas of oligodendroglial and of astrocytic differentiation. These findings show that the astrocytic and oligodendroglial portions of oligoastrocytoma share molecular genetic features and probably are of monoclonal origin.