The genes MBD1 and MBD2 encode methyl-CpG binding proteins that suppress transcription from methylated promoters. In contrast, CGBP encodes a protein that binds promoters containing unmethylated CpG and stimulates transcription. All three are located on human chromosome 18q21, a region of frequent loss of heterozygosity in several cancers. These genes therefore represent candidate tumour suppressor genes, whose loss of function could affect the normal regulation of gene expression, whether by lack of complete suppression of genes normally silenced (via loss of MBD1 and MBD2) or by some loss of activation of genes normally expressed (via loss of CGBP), either way contributing to the tumorigenic phenotype. We have confirmed by fluorescent in situ hybridization that MBD1 and MBD2 bracket the DCC locus giving a gene order of MBD1/CGBP-DCC 5′-DCC 3′-MBD2. Mutation analyses by single-stranded conformation polymorphism in colon and lung cancer cell lines and primary tumours revealed a small number of mutations, suggesting only a limited role of these genes in human tumorigenesis.