Trefoil factors (TFFs), in particular TFF1, are classical estrogen-regulated genes and have served as markers of estrogen gene regulation by various environmental estrogens. TFFs are also regulated by several other factors including growth hormone (hGH), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), epidermal growth factor (EGF) and various oncogenic stimuli. TFFs are secreted proteins present in serum and possess the potential to act as growth factors promoting cell survival, anchorage-independent growth and motility. Recent compelling evidence has emerged from experimental and clinical studies to indicate a pivotal role of TFFs in oncogenic transformation, growth and metastatic extension of common human solid tumours. This review will summarize the current evidence for the involvement of TFFs in human cancer.