To investigate the role of basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF) in renal cell carcinoma growth, we have analyzed the expression of mRNA of basic FGF. In 7 of 15 cases, basic FGF mRNA level in renal cell carcinoma tissues was higher than that in corresponding normal tissues. However, the tumor-to-normal ratios of expression levels are chiefly less than 2.0 and, in 5 cases, are even less than 1.0. Furthermore, there was no correlation between the ratio and the clinical stage. In protein analysis, we could not find any difference between basic FGF extracted from renal cell carcinomas and that from normal kidney tissues in bioactivity, immunoreactivity, molecular weight and affinity to heparin. On the other hand, anti-basic FGF monoclonal antibody inhibited the growth of a renal cell carcinoma cell line, VMRC-RCW, and this inhibition was reversed by an extraphysiological amount of exogenous basic FGF (100 ng./ml.). These results suggest that basic FGF itself may have no pivotal role in renal cell carcinoma etiology but is involved in the growth of renal cell carcinomas in an autocrine manner.