Heparanase is a mammalian endo-beta-d-glucuronidase that can cleave heparan sulfate side chains, an activity strongly implicated in tumor cell dissemination. The current study aimed to identify and characterize heparanase splice variants. LEADS, Compugen's alternative splicing modeling platform (Compugen, Tel Aviv, Israel), was used to search for splice variants in silico; tumor-derived cell lines (i.e., CAG myeloma) and tumor biopsies were utilized to validate T5 expression in vivo; signaling (i.e., Src phosphorylation) was evaluated following T5 gene silencing or overexpression and correlated with cell proliferation, colony formation, and tumor xenograft development. A novel spliced form of human heparanase, termed T5, was identified. In this splice variant, 144 bp of intron 5 are joined with exon 4, which results in a truncated, enzymatically inactive protein. T5 overexpression resulted in increased cell proliferation and larger colonies in soft agar, mediated by Src activation. Furthermore, T5 overexpression markedly enhanced tumor xenograft development. T5 expression is up-regulated in 75% of human renal cell carcinoma biopsies examined, which suggests that this splice variant is clinically relevant. Controls included cells overexpressing wild-type heparanase or an empty plasmid and normal-looking tissue adjacent the carcinoma lesion. T5 is a novel functional splice variant of human heparanase endowed with protumorigenic characteristics.-Barash, U., Cohen-Kaplan, V., Arvatz, G., Gingis-Velitski, S., Levy-Adam, F., Nativ, O., Shemesh, R., Ayalon-Sofer, M., Ilan, N., Vlodavsky, I. A novel human heparanase splice variant, T5, endowed with protumorigenic characteristics.