Primary tumours influence the environment in the lungs before metastasis. However, the mechanism of metastasis is not well understood. Here, we show that the inflammatory chemoattractants S100A8 and S100A9, whose expression is induced by distant primary tumours, attract Mac 1 (macrophage antigen 1)(+)-myeloid cells in the premetastatic lung. In addition, tumour cells use this mechanism, through activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p38, to acquire migration activity with pseudopodia for invasion (invadopodia). The expression of S100A8 and S100A9 was eliminated in lung Mac 1(+)-myeloid cells and endothelial cells deprived of soluble factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) and transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) both in vitro and in vivo. Neutralizing anti-S100A8 and anti-S100A9 antibodies blocked the morphological changes and migration of tumour cells and Mac 1(+)-myeloid cells. Thus, the S100A8 and S100A9 pathway may be common to both myeloid cell recruitment and tumour-cell invasion.