Several chromosome regions exhibit loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in human breast carcinoma and are thought to harbour tumour suppressor genes (TSG). At chromosome 13q, two TSGs have been identified, RB1 at 13q14 and BRCA2 at 13q12-q13. In this study, 139 sporadic breast tumours were analysed with 18 polymorphic microsatellite markers for detailed mapping of LOH at chromosome 13q and evaluation of an association with known progression factors. LOH with at least one marker was observed in 71 (51%) of the tumours analysed. The deletion mapping indicated three LOH target regions, 13q12-q13, 13q14 and 13q31-q34. LOH at chromosome 13q12-q13 was associated with low progesterone receptor content, a high S phase fraction and aneuploidy. Multivariate analysis adjusting for lymph node involvement and S phase fraction showed that patients with tumours exhibiting LOH at 13q12-q13 have a 3-4-fold increased risk of recurrence and death compared with other patients. Our results suggest there are at least three separate LOH target regions at chromosome 13q and inactivation of one or more genes at chromosome 13q12-q13 results in poor prognosis for breast cancer patients.