To understand the molecular mechanism of gastric tumorigenesis, the status of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) gene was analyzed in human gastric cancer cell lines. Although the sequencing of the GTPase activating protein (GAP)-related region of NF1 (NF1-GRD) revealed no apparent mutation, the NF1-GRD transcript (type I) and that containing an additional 63 bp insert in the center of NF1-GRD (type II) were equally expressed in most gastric cancer cells. By contrast, type II was predominantly expressed in normal stomach mucosa. When these two types of NF1-GRD were bacterially expressed and their GAP activities were tested, both types of NF1-GRD similarly stimulated ras GTPase activity. However, arachidonic acid inhibited GAP activities of two types of NF1-GRD to different extents. These results suggest that the increased expression of type I NF1 protein may modulate ras-related signal transduction and it may be related to the control of the gastric cellular proliferation.