There have been no reports on the relationship between serum gastrin level and liver metastasis in human colorectal cancer. One hundred forty patients who underwent surgery for colorectal cancer (T2 or more) were enrolled in this study. Fasting serum gastrin level was determined prior to the surgery. Incidence of liver metastasis was significantly (P < 0.01) higher in patients with a serum gastrin level of > or = 150 pg/ml (37 percent; 14/38) than in those with a serum gastrin level of < 150 pg/ml (12 percent; 12/102). As for the tumors with venous invasion, liver metastasis was detected in 11 of 55 patients (20 percent) with a serum gastrin level of < 150 pg/ml; however, it was detected in 11 of 19 patients (58 percent) with a serum gastrin level of > or = 150 pg/ml (P < 0.01). These results suggest that serum gastrin serves as a useful predictor of liver metastasis from colorectal cancer and that the predictability of liver metastasis can be improved when both serum gastrin level and venous invasion are considered.