We undertook the present study to clarify the molecular mechanism of the effect of a new anti-cancer drug, vesnarinone, on a human salivary gland cancer cell line, TYS. We isolated TSC-22cDNA as avesnarinone-inducible gene from a cDNA library constructed from vesnarinone-treated TYS cells. TSC-22 was originally reported as a transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta-inducible gene. The expression of TSC-22 was up-regulated within a few hours after treatment with vesnarinone and was continued for 3 days. The level of TSC-22 mRNA in TYS cells was continuously increased until the cells reached confluency. Furthermore, the induction of TSC-22 by vesnarinone was inhibited by treatment with cycloheximide. When we treated the cells with an antisense oligonucleotide against TSC-22 mRNA under quiescent conditions, the antisense oligonucleotide stimulated the growth of TYS cells; however, under growing conditions the antisense oligonucleotide did not affect cell growth. Furthermore, the antisense oligonucleotide suppressed the antiproliferative effect of vesnarinone. These results suggest that TSC-22 may be a negative growth regulator and may play an important role in the antiproliferative effect of vesnarinone.