Thrombospondin (TSP-1) is a large glycoprotein secreted by platelets and synthesized by many cell types, including endothelial and tumor cells. Although controversy exists about the biological function of TSP-1, the following observations suggest that TSP-1 may potentiate tumor progression. (1) Tumor metastases in mice are promoted by TSP-1 and inhibited by anti-TSP-1 antibodies. (2) TSP-1 promotes tumor cell adhesion, migration and invasion. (3) TSP-1 promotes angiogenesis in the rat aorta model. (4) TSP-1 up-regulates the plasminogen activator system through a mechanism involving the activation of TGF-beta 1. (5) Human tumors express increased levels of the CSVTCG-specific TSP-1 receptor. (6) Tumor stroma is enriched in TSP-1. (7) Cancer patients have high blood levels of TSP-1. (8) Poor patient survival correlates with a higher expression of the CSVTCG-specific TSP-1 receptor on tumor cells. In this paper we discuss the evidence that TSP-1 promotes tumor progression and present a hypothetical scheme for its mechanism of action.