We have recently isolated TSC-22 (transforming growth factor beta-stimulated clone 22) cDNA as a new anticancer drug (Vesnarinone)-inducible gene in a human salivary gland cancer cell line, TYS. We conducted the present study to examine whether up-regulation or down-regulation of TSC-22 can affect the growth of TYS cells in vitro and in vivo. We constructed an expression vector containing sense- or antisense-oriented human TSC-22 cDNA under the transcriptional control of the SR alpha promoter. We cotransfected TYS cells with the sense or antisense expression vector and pSV2neo and obtained more than 200 G418-resistant colonies in each sense or antisense transfectant. Approximately 80% of representative G418-resistant clones expressed the transcripts from transfected sense or antisense TSC-22 cDNA. To avoid the clonal heterogeneity of the cells, we mixed all of the G418-resistant colonies together in each sense or antisense transfectant and examined the expression of TSC-22 protein, in vitro growth, and the tumorigenicity in nude mice. The expression of TSC-22 protein was examined by solid-phase ELISA using a specific antibody against recombinant TSC-22 protein. The expression of TSC-22 protein was up-regulated in the sense transfectants and down-regulated in the antisense transfectants. Contrary to our expectation, up-regulation of TSC-22 protein did not affect both in vitro and in vivo growth of TYS cells. However, down-regulation of TSC-22 markedly enhanced the growth of TYS cells in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we examined the expression of TSC-22 mRNA in several human salivary gland tumors. The mRNA expression of TSC-22 in benign and malignant salivary gland tumors was significantly decreased when compared to that in tumor-free salivary glands (P < 0.05; one-way ANOVA), and in some salivary gland tumors, the expression of TSC-22 mRNA was not detectable by reverse transcription-PCR. These results suggest that down-regulation of TSC-22 may play a major role on salivary gland tumorigenesis.