Lung cancer development in nonsmokers, particularly in females, has long been observed,but the genetic pathways of oncogenesis are still unclear. The purpose of this study was to identify important targets of chromosomal alteration involved in non-tobacco-related adenocarcinomas of lung. In this study, loci of recurrent allelic imbalance (AI) were identified by microsatellite analysis, focusing on tumors with low frequencies of AI (FAL) relative to the mean level. We reasoned that studying such tumors would facilitate the identification of essential genetic changes needed for the malignant phenotype, which could be masked by genomic instability and widespread nonspecific alterations, especially in tumors showing high FAL. Forty-two adenocarcinomas from nonsmokers (NT-ADs) were analyzed by a broad spectrum of 84 markers covering all nonacrocentric chromosomal arms. Using the mean AI frequency (40%) as the threshold, loci in 7q31, 8p23.2, 10p14-p15, 13q12.3, 16q24, 17p13.1-p13.3, 17q22, 19q13.3, and Xq11.2-q12 showed recurrent AI in the low-FAL tumors, which suggested that essential targets of carcinogenesis may be present. To analyze whether loci, frequently altered in NT-ADs, were uniquely involved in these tumors, 43 loci were also studied in 29 adenocarcinomas from smokers. 2q, 6p, 10p, 13q, 16q, 17q, 19p, 19q, 20p, and 20q showed frequent aberrations in NT-ADs, whereas 1q, 2p, 3p, 3q, 7q, 8p, 9p, 9q, 10q, 11q, 13q, 14q, TP53, 17p, 18q, and 21q were commonly altered in both of the tumor groups. Further comparison of their low-FAL tumors showed that AI involving 16q24, 17q22, and 19q13.3 were significantly associated with NT-ADs; whereas those involving 7q31, 8p23.2, 10p14-p15, 13q12.3, and 17p13.1-p13.3 were observed in both. The findings suggest that oncogenesis in the lung of smokers and nonsmokers involve overlapping yet distinct genetic pathways, whereas the recurrent loci of alteration in NT-ADs may provide a basis for the further mapping of critical molecular targets in these pathways.