pS2, a member of the trefoil peptide family, has been suggested to be a gastric-specific tumor suppressor. We examined the expression of pS2 in gastric carcinomas, adenomas and non-neoplastic mucosa and analyzed the DNA methylation in the pS2 promoter. Reduced expression of pS2 was frequently associated with well-differentiated adenocarcinomas. The CpG sites within the promoter region of the pS2 gene were methylated in pS2-negative gastric carcinoma cell lines whereas it was not in pS2-positive cell line. The promoter methylation was detected in gastric carcinoma tissues and intestinal metaplasia with reduced pS2 expression whereas none of the carcinomas with preserved pS2 expression showed the promoter methylation. These findings suggest that reduced expression of pS2 due to the promoter methylation may participate in an early stage of stomach carcinogenesis, especially of well differentiated type.