It has been proposed that a 356 amino acid protein encoded by the MIM (Missing In Metastasis) gene on Chromosome 8q24.1, is a bladder cancer metastasis suppressor. Recently, Machesky and colleagues [Biochem. J. 371 (2003) 463] identified MIM-B, a 759 amino acid protein, of which the C-terminal 356 amino acids are almost identical to MIM. Importantly, PCR primers and Northern Blotting probes used in the studies of MIM in bladder cancer did not distinguish between sequences specific for MIM or MIM-B, thus the importance of either protein to bladder cancer remains unclear. We have used primer sequences specific for either MIM or MIM-B to explore the possible functional significance of MIM and MIM-B to bladder cancer cell behaviour. We have compared MIM and MIM-B mRNA levels in a non-tumourigenic, non-invasive, transformed uro-epithelial cell line versus 15 bladder cancer cell lines of differing in vitro invasive abilities, as well as in five cell lines clonally isolated from the BL17/2 bladder tumour cell line, whose in vitro and in vivo invasive abilities have been determined. MIM and MIM-B mRNA levels varied widely between cell lines. Down-regulation of MIM and MIM-B occurred in 6/15 (40%) lines but lines showing down-regulation differed between MIM and MIM-B. Reduced levels of MIM and MIM-B in BL17/2 were further reduced in 2/5 (40%) sublines (MIM and MIM-B). Importantly, there was no association between MIM or MIM-B expression and invasive behaviour in vivo or in vitro. Treatment of representative cell lines with 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine failed to induce MIM or MIM-B expression. Furthermore, there was no association between MIM or MIM-B mRNA levels and p53 functional status. Our data indicate that down-regulation of MIM and/or MIM-B expression can occur in bladder cancer cell lines but is not associated with increased invasive behaviour. Our data also suggest that in those cell lines with reduced levels of MIM and MIM-B mRNA, down-regulation is unlikely to be due to promoter hypermethylation or loss of p53 function.