The pathogenesis of sporadic insulinomas is not clear, and there are no reliable genetic determinants that are useful to distinguish malignant and benign forms of this tumor. It was reported that 1q LOH might contribute to pathogenesis in gastrinomas and was correlated with tumor progression. However, little data are available on 1q LOH in sporadic insulinomas. In our study, we determine whether 1q LOH occurs in sporadic insulinomas and is associated with tumor malignancy by performing 1q allelotyping with 17 markers in 40 tumors and pair normal DNA. Thirty-five (88%) insulinomas had 1q LOH. Of the 35 insulinomas with 1q LOH, 14 (40%) had 1q21.3-23.2 LOH over a 7.5 cM region (SRO-1), whereas LOH in 21 tumors (60%) occurred at 1q31.3 over an 11.4 cM area (SRO-2). Of 24 tumors without MEN1 LOH, 20 had either SRO-1 or SRO-2 LOH (83%), whereas in 16 tumors with MEN1 LOH, 9 were shown to have LOH at either SRO-1 or SRO-2 (56%) (p = 0.065). This result suggests that LOH at 2 SRO might be MEN1 gene independent and may contribute to the pathogenesis in a subset of insulinomas without MEN1 gene LOH. The presence of 1q21.3-23.2 LOH is significantly associated with malignancy of insulinomas (p = 0.014). The high frequency of LOH at 1q 21.3-23.2 and 1q31.3 suggests these 2 areas may harbor putative tumor suppressor genes that may play an important role in the tumorigenesis of a subset of insulinomas. LOH at 1q21.3-23.2, which was associated with tumor malignancy, could be one of the genetic markers for identifying malignancy in sporadic insulinomas.