Our objective was to determine whether colorectal cancer tissue synthesizes and secretes biologically active gastrins resulting in a rise of gastrin levels in patients with adenocarcinoma of the colon. Blood samples for gastrin determination were taken from the artery feeding, and from the vein draining colon tumors, from a vein draining an uninvolved colon segment and from a peripheral vein. Tissue gastrin levels were measured in tumor tissues and normal mucosa taken by colonoscopic biopsy from colon cancer patients and healthy controls. The setting was a university hospital research laboratory. We had seventeen patients with colorectal cancer and 23 controls. No significant difference was found in peripheral venous blood gastrin levels between the cancer and the control groups. Serum gastrin concentration was not significantly different in the arterial blood which supplied the tumor area, the venous blood draining the tumor, the "uninvolved" mucosa or the control normal epithelium. Cancer tissue gastrin levels were lower than those measured in biopsies of uninvolved mucosa from cancer patients and normal controls. The present results show no rise of gastrin blood levels in patients with colon cancer, nor any evidence of gastrin-increased synthesis by the tumors.