Neuroendocrine tumors of the digestive system are slow growing neoplasms which often present with pronounced fibrosis around tumor cells and in the peritoneal cavity. In this report 30 midgut carcinoids and endocrine pancreatic tumors were examined for the expression of peptide growth factors and their receptors, both by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. Our data indicate that multiple peptide growth factors, PDGF, TGF-beta, and bFGF are expressed by these tumors. PDGF was expressed on tumor cells and stroma in 70% of tissues examined. PDGF alpha-receptor was seen on clusters of tumor cells and occasionally on adjacent stroma, whereas PDGF beta-receptor was seen only in the stroma. Our data suggest that PDGF may be involved in the autocrine stimulation of tumor cells and stimulation of stromal cell growth through paracrine and possibly autocrine mechanism. In addition, tumor tissues express all three isoforms of TGF-beta in more than half of the tissues examined. Tumor cells produce small latent complexes causing an escape from potent inhibitory effect of TGF-beta and stimulation of stromal cell growth and matrix deposition through paracrine mechanism. bFGF, a potent stimulant of endothelial cell growth, was expressed by all tumor tissues examined. Our data suggest that multiple peptide growth factors may have an important role in tumor progression and desmoplastic reaction accompanying these tumors.