The growth and spread of tumour cells depends on adequate vasculature. We have previously reported that the expression of interleukin-8 (IL-8) directly correlates with the vascularity of human gastric carcinomas. To provide evidence for a causal role of IL-8 in angiogenesis and tumorigenicity of human gastric cancer, we used the lipofectin method to stably transfect the human TMK-1 gastric carcinoma cells (low endogenous IL-8) with an IL-8 expression vector or control vector. Transfection with IL-8 did not affect the proliferation of cultured cells, yet the culture supernatants of the transfected (but not control) cells stimulated proliferation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells. The IL-8-transfected and control cells were injected into the gastric wall of nude mice. IL-8-transfected cells produced rapidly growing, highly vascular neoplasms as compared to control cells. These results provide direct evidence for the role of IL-8 in the angiogenesis and tumorigenicity of human gastric carcinomas.