The increased glucose consumption of many tumor cells depends to a large extent on the overexpression of hexokinase Type II. In a previous study we isolated and sequenced the hepatoma Type II hexokinase promoter and showed that it is activated by glucose in the highly glycolytic AS-30D hepatoma cell line under study, but not activated in control hepatocytes [Mathupala, S.P., Rempel, A. and Pedersen, P.L. (1995) J. Biol. Chem. 270, 16918-16925]. Here we report that the promoter of the hexokinase Type II gene is maximally activated by glucose at concentrations above 5 mM. Moreover, the data strongly suggest that glucose can act alone without requirement for metabolism. Also, glucose-mediated promoter activation is markedly potentiated by cAMP. This response may serve as a strategy for cancer cells to maintain the hexokinase transcription rate high to ensure an efficient glucose utilization even under conditions where carbohydrates are limiting.