The epithelial membrane protein 3 (EMP3) gene located on chromosome 19q13 has been implicated as a candidate tumor suppressor gene (TSG) in neuroblastomas and gliomas. The aim of this study was to investigate whether EMP3 is involved in oligodendroglial tumors (OTs), which frequently carry combined chromosomes 1p and 19q deletion. We first investigated the transcript level of EMP3 in a cohort of 57 OTs by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Our results showed that 10 (18%) tumors had reduced EMP3 expression level compared to normal brains. Six of these tumors carried chromosome 19q13 deletion but no statistical correlation was found between the 2 parameters. Intriguingly, a similar proportion (11 of 57, 19%) of tumors displayed EMP3 overexpression, with 8 of them having transcript level >10-fold higher than normal brain. All 11 OTs retained chromosomes 1p36 and 19q13, and a significant association was found between EMP3 overexpression and balanced chromosomes 1p36 and 19q13 (p = 0.004). The methylation status of EMP3 was evaluated by bisulfite sequencing in 29 OTs with diverse expression levels. All tumors except 3 showed aberrant methylation of EMP3 and no correlation was observed between transcript level and methylation status, suggesting that methylation alone does not mediate transcriptional down-regulation of EMP3 in OTs. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that EMP3 overexpression is involved in OTs retaining chromosomes 1p and 19q and does not support EMP3 as the target TSG on chromosome 19q13 in OTs. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.