The regenerating gene (REG) IV gene was isolated from a cDNA library of ulcerative colitis (UC) tissues. However, its role in the pathophysiology of UC and subsequent development of colitic cancer is still unclear. We investigated the expression of the REG IV gene in UC and colitic cancer tissues and examined whether cytokines or growth factors are responsible for REG IV gene expression and whether REG IV gene induction affects cell growth and apoptosis in colon cancer cells. The expressions of REG IV and growth factor genes in UC tissues were analyzed by real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The effects of cytokines and growth factors on REG IV gene expression were examined in SW403 cells by Northern blot analysis. The effects of REG IV gene induction on cell growth and H(2)O(2)-induced apoptosis were examined in DLD-1 cells by MTT and TUNEL assays, respectively. REG IV mRNA was strongly expressed in inflamed epithelium and in dysplasias and cancerous lesions in UC tissues. The level of REG IV mRNA expression was correlated with that of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) as well as hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) mRNA expression in UC tissues. The REG IV gene expression in SW403 colon cancer cells was enhanced by stimulation with transforming growth factor-alpha, epidermal growth factor, bFGF, and HGF. REG IV gene induction promoted cell growth and conferred resistance to H(2)O(2)-induced apoptosis in DLD-1 cells. The REG IV gene is inducible by growth factors and may function as a growth promoting and/or an antiapoptotic factor in the pathophysiology of UC.