We have previously demonstrated that activated ras oncogenes can induce the metastatic phenotype and type IV collagenolytic activity in NIH/3T3 cells (Thorgeirsson et al. Mol. Cell. Biol. 5:259-262, 1985). The present study demonstrates ras-mediated induction of a 92 kDa metalloproteinase, which degrades gelatin and type IV collagen. Association of the 92 kDa proteinase expression with the malignant phenotype was also observed in human tumor cell lines. Our data indicate that the 92 kDa gelatin-collagen IV degrading metalloproteinase is an important participant in the proteolytic process involving tumor cell invasion and metastasis.