Downstream signaling that results from the interaction of hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) with the receptor tyrosine kinase Met plays critical roles in tumor development, progression, and metastasis. This ligand-receptor pair is an attractive target for new diagnostic and therapeutic agents, preclinical development of which requires suitable animal models. The growth of heterotopic and orthotopic Met-expressing human tumor xenografts in conventional strains of immunocompromised mice inadequately replicates the paracrine stimulation by human HGF/SF (hHGF/SF) that occurs in humans with cancer. We have therefore generated a mouse strain transgenic for hHGF/SF (designated hHGF-Tg) on a severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) background. We report here that the presence of ectopically expressed hHGF/SF ligand significantly enhances growth of heterotopic subcutaneous xenografts derived from human Met-expressing cancer cells, including the lines SK-LMS-1 (human leiomyosarcoma), U118 (human glioblastoma), and DU145 (human prostate carcinoma), but not that of M14-Mel xenografts (human melanoma that expresses insignificant levels of Met). Our results indicate that ectopic hHGF/SF can specifically activate Met in human tumor xenografts. This new hHGF-Tg strain of mice should provide a powerful tool for evaluating drugs and diagnostic agents that target the various pathways influenced by Met activity.