FGF-1 mRNA is expressed in the prostate cancer cell lines LNCaP and PC-3 and in the breast carcinoma cell line MDA-MB-231. Levels of FGF-1 mRNA have been shown to be up-regulated by serum, phorbol esters, and combinations of growth factors. It was shown that the major FGF-1 mRNA species expressed following serum stimulation in MDA-MB-231 cells is FGF-1.C. To better understand the potential role of FGF-1 in human prostate and breast cancer, we began an analysis of the cis- and trans-acting elements of one of its promoters required for the serum, PMA, and androgen regulation in breast and prostate cancer cell lines. We show that FGF-1.C steady-state mRNA levels are increased following serum or PMA stimulation of PC-3 cells. Further, we determine the FGF-1.C transcription start site in PC-3 cells. By sequence analysis, we show that consensus AP1, AP2, and Sp1 sites and ARE- and CRE-near consensus elements are present in the immediate 5' region of the FGF-1.C transcription start site. Gel-shift assays show that oligonucleotides containing FGF-1.C AP1, AP2, or Spl sequences form specific DNA-protein complexes with nuclear extracts from PC-3 cells. To determine if these or other cis-acting sequences are responsible for the serum, androgen, or growth factor regulation of FGF-1 expression, fragments of the FGF-1.C promoter region were cloned upstream of the luciferase reporter gene. We show that FGF-1 synergizes with androgen to enhance FGF-1.C transcription in LNCaP cells. We further show that the DNA fragment containing sequence up to 1614 nucleotides upstream of the FGF-1.C transcription start site is sufficient for stimulating promoter activity following serum treatment of MDA-MB-231 cells. Thus, FGF-1.C promoter contains sequences that are important for androgen or serum stimulation in prostate and breast cancer cells.