Detecting the topic of documents can help readers construct the background of the topic and facilitate document comprehension. In this paper, we propose a semantic frame-based topic detection (SFTD) that simulates such process in human perception. We take advantage of multiple knowledge sources and extracted discriminative patterns from documents through a highly automated, knowledge-supported frame generation and matching mechanisms. Using a Chinese news corpus containing over 111,000 news articles, we provide a comprehensive performance evaluation which demonstrates that our novel approach can effectively detect the topic of a document by exploiting the syntactic structures, semantic association, and the context within the text. Experimental results show that SFTD is comparable to other well-known topic detection methods.