Gastrin has been shown to enhance the growth of various human tumors. The present study was designed to examine the gastrin receptor gene expression in various human carcinoma cell lines and in surgically resected carcinoma tissues. By Northern blot analysis, gastrin receptor mRNA was detected in 3 out of 7 small cell lung carcinoma cell lines. Gastrin receptor mRNA was also expressed in one out of 8 colon carcinoma cell lines and 2 out of 10 colon carcinoma tissues. Moreover, one of two small cell carcinoma cell lines of the stomach clearly expressed gastrin receptor mRNA. However, none of the gastric adenocarcinoma cell lines or surgically resected gastric adenocarcinomas tested had any detectable expression of gastrin receptor gene. These findings may suggest a role of gastrin receptor in the growth and differentiation of certain human carcinomas.