An allelotype analysis of transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder identified loss of heterozygosity (LOH) on chromosome arm 4p in 22% of tumours. In a more detailed LOll study of 178 bladder carcinomas, a 750 kb common region of deletion was identified between the markers D4S43 and D4S127 just telomeric to the Huntington disease locus. To refine this region of deletion at 4p16.3, we have carried out detailed fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) analysis of 12 bladder cancer cell lines by using a chromosome 4 centromeric probe combined with a series of cosmid probes from contigs spanning the 750 kb region of deletion. A common 30 kb region of deletion was identified at 4p16.3 in over one-third of the bladder cancer cell lines analysed. The present study has refined the localisation of the critical region of deletion from 750 kb to approximately 30 kb, providing a precise starting point for positional cloning of the gene(s) involved in bladder cancer from within a very gene-rich region on chromosome band 4p16.3. This study demonstrates that FISH can be used for fine deletion mapping of potential tumour suppressor gene regions. The utilisation of FISH analysis to map chromosomal deletions should facilitate positional cloning of other genes as bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) and yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) contigs of the human genome are established.