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A reliable and accurate identification of the type of tumors is crucial to the proper treatment of cancers. In recent years, it has been shown that sparse representation (SR) by l1-norm minimization is robust to noise, outliers and even incomplete measurements, and SR has been successfully used for classification. This paper presents a new SR-based method for tumor classification using gene expression data. A set of metasamples are extracted from the training samples, and then an input testing sample is represented as the linear combination of these metasamples by l1-regularized least square method. Classification is achieved by using a discriminating function defined on the representation coefficients. Since l1-norm minimization leads to a sparse solution, the proposed method is called metasample-based SR classification (MSRC). Extensive experiments on publicly available gene expression data sets show that MSRC is efficient for tumor classification, achieving higher accuracy than many existing representative schemes.