Overexpression of hepatocyte growth factor receptor (c-met) has been detected in many human tumors. To investigate the possible involvement of c-met in human gastric carcinogenesis, we examined c-met expression in 45 patients with gastric carcinoma using Northern blot analysis, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and immunohistochemical staining. The c-met mRNA expression was increased twofold and sevenfold in gastric carcinoma tissues compared to the adjacent normal tissues by Northern blot analysis and RT-PCR, respectively. In the immunohistochemical study, c-met protein was detected in 32 of 45 (71.1%) patients, with marked overexpression in gastric carcinoma compared with matched normal gastric tissues. The c-met-positive immunoreactivities were more frequently encountered in serosa-exposed and serosa-infiltrating gastric cancer (p = 0.003). In addition, tumor stage was another statistically significant parameter that was observed between the two groups (p = 0.02). Multivariate analyses revealed that the tumor stage (p = 0.014) and c-met overexpression (p = 0.031) were independently correlated with survival. These data suggest that overexpression of c-met may play a part in gastric carcinogenesis and may represent a prognostic factor for gastric cancer.