Thymidine phosphorylase (dThdPase) is identical to platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor (PD-ECGF) and has angiogenic activity. Since dThdPase seems to have an important role in angiogenesis of tumours, we measured the activity and expression of dThdPase in various tumours and the adjacent non-neoplastic tissues. We assayed dThdPase activity by spectrophotometric means, and the expression of dThdPase was examined by immunoblotting and by immunohistochemical staining using a monoclonal antibody against dThdPase. In the oesophagus, stomach, colorectum, pancreas, and lung, dThdPase activity in carcinomas was significantly higher (P < 0.05) than that in the adjacent non-neoplastic tissues. The expression level of dThdPase detected by immunoblotting correlated well with the activity of dThdPase. In the oesophagus, stomach, colorectum, gall bladder, pancreas and lung, the proportion of dThdPase-positive tumours was significantly higher (P < 0.05 or 0.01) than that of the dThdPase-positive adjacent normal tissues. In oesophageal, gastric colorectal and lung carcinomas, the proportion of dThdPase positivity in advanced carcinomas was significantly higher (P < 0.01) than that in early carcinomas. Tumour-infiltrative macrophages or lymphocytes in the lymph node, alveolar macrophages and Kupffer cells expressed high levels of dThdPase. The results indicate that dThdPase activity and expression level in many tumours are higher than those in the adjacent non-neoplastic tissues, and that dThdPase may have an important role in the proliferation of these solid tumours.