MEN1 is a syndrome of parathyroid adenomas, gastrinomas, prolactinomas, and other endocrine tumors. Collagenomas and facial angiofibromas are newly recognized but common skin expressions. Many tumors in MEN1 are benign; however, many entero-pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and foregut carcinoid tumors are malignant. MEN1 is thus the expression of a cancer gene but without available prevention or cure for malignancy. Hereditary (as compared to sporadic) endocrine tumors show early onset age and multiplicity, because each cell of the body has "one hit" by inheritance. Multiple neoplasia syndromes with endocrine tumor(s) all include nonendocrine components; their known defective genes seem mainly to disturb cell accumulation. Hereditary neoplasia/hyperplasia of one endocrine tissue reflects a defect that is tissue selective and directed at cell secretion. Though the hereditary endocrine neoplasias are rare, most of their identified genes also contribute to common sporadic endocrine neoplasms. Hereditary tumors may be caused by activation of an oncogene (e.g., RET) or, more often, by inactivation of a tumor suppressor gene (e.g., P53, MEN1). Recently, MEN1 was identified by positional cloning. This strategy included narrowing the gene candidate interval, identifying many or all genes in that interval, and testing the newly identified candidate genes for mutation in MEN1 cases. MEN1 was identified because it showed mutation in 14 of 15 MEN1 cases. NIH testing showed germline MEN1 mutations in 47 of 50 MEN1 index cases and in seven of eight cases with sporadic MEN1. Despite proven capacity to find germline MEN1 mutation, NIH testing found no MEN1 mutation among five families with isolated hyperparathyroidism, suggesting that this often arises from mutation of other gene(s). Analogous studies in Japan found that familial isolated pituitary tumors also did not show MEN1 germline mutation. MEN1 mutation testing can now be considered for cases of MEN1 and its phenocopies and for asymptomatic members of families with known MEN1 mutation. Germline MEN1 testing does not have the urgency of RET testing in MEN2a and 2b, as MEN1 testing does not commonly lead to an important intervention. Somatic MEN1 mutation was found in sporadic tumors: parathyroid adenoma (21%), gastrinoma (33%), insulinoma (17%), and bronchial carcinoid (36%). For each of these, MEN1 was the known gene most frequently mutated. MEN1 has a widely expressed mRNA that encodes a protein (menin) of 610 amino acids. The protein sequence is not informative about domains or functions. The protein was mainly nuclear. Menin binds to JunD, an AP-1 transcription factor, inhibiting JunD's activation of transcription. Most of the germline and somatic MEN1 mutations predict truncation of menin, a likely destructive change. Inactivating MEN1 mutations in germline and in sporadic neoplasms support prior predictions that MEN1 is a tumor suppressor gene. Germline MEN1 mutation underlies all or most cases of MEN1 (familial or sporadic). Somatic MEN1 mutation is the most common gene mutation in many sporadic endocrine tumor types.