MTA1 has been identified as a metastasis-promoting gene, and its gene expression is correlated with serosal invasion and lymph node metastasis in the gastrointestinal and esophageal cancers. We examined MTA1 mRNA expression levels in 13 cell lines and 23 tumor tissues of pancreatic cancer by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. MTA1 mRNA expression was found in all the cell lines, however its levels were not correlated with the metastatic pontential of each cell line representing hematogenous distant metastasis. In the pancreatic cancer tissues, the overexpression of MTA1 mRNA (tumor/normal ratio >/=1) was observed in 12 out of 23. Pancreatic cancer tissues overexpressing MTA1 mRNA (T/N ratio >/=1) tended to have higher incidence of lymph node metastasis. These results together with previous findings in the gastrointestinal and esophageal cancers suggest that MTA1 might be involved in the progression, particularly in lymph node metastasis of pancreatic cancer.