Matched normal/tumor DNA pairs from 44 colorectal carcinoma patients were examined for tumor-specific genetic changes using a probe for the beta-2-adrenergic receptor (ADRB2R) gene on chromosome 5. This locus (5q31-q32) maps close to the site of chromosomal deletions recently reported to occur in colorectal carcinomas and distal to the chromosomal location of the familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) gene (5q21-q22). Our investigation shows tumor-specific allele loss or allelic rearrangement of at least 29% at the AdRb2R locus on chromosome 5 in informative cases. These results suggest that the mechanism by which colorectal carcinomas lose genetic material on chromosome 5 can affect this functional gene located distally to the FAP gene. The possible functional significance that ADRB2R gene changes may have in neoplastic progression is discussed.