We have measured serum TNF-alpha levels in 220 gastric cancer patients, 9 patients with gastric polyps or ulcers, 9 hepatitis B carriers and 85 normal controls. The results showed that no positive TNF-alpha value (> 10 pg/ml) was detected in Hepatitis B carriers and benign gastric lesions' patients and normal controls. In the cancer group, 17 out of 220 patients (7.7%) had positive-TNF-alpha values. The proportion of TNF-alpha positive was 6.8% in stage I disease, 6.5% in stage II disease, 3.7% stage III, and 12.9% stage IV. No clinicopathologic factors were related to positive TNF-alpha value. TNF-alpha value was not an independent prognostic indicator The role of TNF-alpha in gastric cancer remains obscures.