Our previous studies have defined reactive stroma in human prostate cancer and have developed the differential reactive stroma (DRS) xenograft model to evaluate mechanisms of how reactive stroma promotes carcinoma tumorigenesis. Analysis of several normal human prostate stromal cell lines in the DRS model showed that some rapidly promoted LNCaP prostate carcinoma cell tumorigenesis and others had no effect. These differential effects were due, in part, to elevated angiogenesis and were transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 mediated. The present study was conducted to identify and evaluate candidate genes expressed in prostate stromal cells responsible for this differential tumor-promoting activity. Differential cDNA microarray analyses showed that connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) was expressed at low levels in nontumor-promoting prostate stromal cells and was constitutively expressed in tumor-promoting prostate stromal cells. TGF-beta1 stimulated CTGF message expression in nontumor-promoting prostate stromal cells. To evaluate the role of stromal-expressed CTGF in tumor progression, either engineered mouse prostate stromal fibroblasts expressing retroviral-introduced CTGF or 3T3 fibroblasts engineered with mifepristone-regulated CTGF were combined with LNCaP human prostate cancer cells in the DRS xenograft tumor model under different extracellular matrix conditions. Expression of CTGF in tumor-reactive stroma induced significant increases in microvessel density and xenograft tumor growth under several conditions tested. These data suggest that CTGF is a downstream mediator of TGF-beta1 action in cancer-associated reactive stroma and is likely to be one of the key regulators of angiogenesis in the tumor-reactive stromal microenvironment.