Thymidylate synthase (TS) provides the only de novo source of thymidylate for DNA synthesis and is a key target for cancer chemotherapeutic agents. We investigated the TS gene expression by semiquantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction in metastatic melanoma and compared the results with those from control tissues. The relative TS/beta-actin level ratios were 0.5, 0.9, 0.3, 0.4, and 0.5 (mean 0.5) in skin, lymph node, thyroid, muscle, and spleen, respectively. In metastatic melanoma samples, the ratios varied from 0.9 to 2.7 (mean 2.0). The differences of expression levels between these two groups of samples were statistically highly significant (p = 0.0000713). A similar statistical significance (p = 0.0002) was observed between patients achieving a complete response and patients who had progressive disease despite immunochemotherapy. There was no clear relationship between a high TS/ beta-actin ratio and the S phase fraction, as all melanomas had a high S phase fraction.