The liver-type pyruvate kinase (L-PK) gene is controlled positively by insulin and carbohydrates, negatively by glucagon and fasting. Diet-inducible models of carcinogenesis were obtained using the L-PK gene promoter and regulatory sequences to control the expression of c-myc and SV40 T oncogenes in transgenic mice. L-PK/c-myc and L-PK/Tag animals fed a carbohydrate-rich diet developed hepatocarcinomas. In addition, L-PK/Tag animals developed diet-dependent, aggressive endocrine pancreatic tumors, preceded by islet hyperplasia involving the different analysed cell populations (alpha, beta and delta). Expression of the L-PK gene was demonstrated in pancreatic tumors, in rat isolated islets and in rat insulinoma-derived cells (RIN line), revealing a new tissue specificity of the L-PK gene. Our results suggest that this gene may be expressed in islet progenitor cells from which the different mature endocrine cells derive.