The roles of inflammation in the malignant progression of tumors during multistep carcinogenesis have been much discussed but remain to be elucidated. To determine the direct contribution of inflammation to colon carcinogenesis, we established a new model of progression of human colonic adenoma cells using a nude mouse; the progression is accelerated by coimplantation of a plastic plate. The FPCK-1-1 cell line, derived from a colonic polyp in a patient with familial adenomatous polyposis, is nontumorigenic when injected subcutaneously into nude mice in a cell suspension of up to 5 x 106 cells per mouse. However implantation of 1 x 10(5) FPCK-1-1 cells attached to a plastic plate induced first acute and then chronic inflammation, and formed progressively growing tumors that were histologically determined as moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma in 65% of mice. Moreover cell lines established from the growing tumors were found to be tumorigenic when injected into mice even without a plastic plate. The tumor arising from the adenoma cells implanted attached to a plastic plate was surrounded by highly proliferating fibrous stroma. This fibrous tissue was considered essential for malignant progression, rather than for attachment to the plastic plate substrate, because the tumors were formed after injection of FPCK-1-1 cells into the fibrous tissue from which the plastic plate had been removed before the cell injection. The conditioned medium (CM) obtained from the fibroblasts derived from a plastic plate-associated stromal tissue was found to contain factors that stimulated growth of FPCK-1-1 cells, but not of the derivative progressor cell lines. The factor was stable to heating and neuraminidase treatment, but labile to trypsin treatment. The main growth-potentiating activity was contained in the fraction larger than 100 kDa. In contrast, the activity to promote FPCK-1-1 cell growth was not present in the CM of subcutaneous fibroblasts from untreated nude mice or the fibroblast cell lines C3H10T 1/2 and NIH3T3. These results demonstrated that inflammation-associated stroma promoted the conversion of colonic adenoma cells to adenocarcinoma cells.