Interleukin (IL)-8 is a multifunctional cytokine that can stimulate the division of endothelial cells. We examined the expression of IL-8 mRNA using Northern blot analysis and in situ mRNA hybridization (ISH) and protein production using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunohistochemistry in 8 human gastric carcinoma cell lines and 39 gastric carcinomas and corresponding normal mucosa (34 surgical specimens and 5 biopsy specimens). Of the 8 human gastric carcinoma cell lines, 6 expressed 1.8-kb IL-8 mRNA and secreted various levels of IL-8 protein. The expression of IL-8 by TMK-1 cells was induced by exposure to IL-1 alpha, epidermal growth factor, and transforming growth factor-alpha, shown previously to be autocrine growth stimulators for human gastric carcinoma cells. In tumor tissues, most of the tumors (28 of 34 surgical specimens and 4 of 5 biopsy specimens) expressed IL-8 at higher levels than the corresponding normal mucosa. ISH and immunohistochemical analyses revealed that IL-8 mRNA and protein were localized in the cytoplasm of tumor cells. The number of blood vessels in the gastric carcinomas was determined by using antibodies against CD34. The level of IL-8 mRNA in the neoplasms strongly correlated with vascularization (Spearman correlation, r = 0.812; P = 0.001). The data suggest that IL-8 produced by tumor cells may regulate neovascularization and, hence, the growth and spread of human gastric carcinoma.