Melanoma is one of the most aggressive neoplastic transformations and characterized by a high metastatic potential. The current study was performed to assess the impact of "spleen tyrosine kinase" (Syk), a non-receptor-associated tyrosine kinase, on growth and metastatic behavior of melanoma cells in vitro and in a severe combined immunodeficient (SCID)-mouse/human-melanoma xenotransplantation model in vivo. Syk was expressed in melanocytes but was found to be downregulated in melanoma cells. Vector-driven expression of Syk in two different melanoma cell lines did not influence growth speed, but significantly reduced the invasive growth potential of both cell lines in a Matrigel assay in vitro. In a SCID-mouse/human melanoma xenotransplantation model, Syk expressing Mel-Juso cells exhibited delayed and reduced tumor growth. After intravenous as well as subcutaneous injection of tumor cells, Syk-transfected cells formed significantly fewer metastatic tumor lesions than control cells. The presented data define Syk as a novel regulator of metastatic behavior of melanoma cells.