The present study has attempted to look into the mechanism of ras-induced carcinogenesis in a human epithelial cell system. Human epithelial cells immortalized with Ad12-SV40 hybrid virus were used to assess carcinogenic potential of the ras-oncogene. Cells transfected with pSV2-ras showed characteristics of cellular transformation. The transformation parameters such as cell density, soft-agar colony formation, and cell aggregation were significantly increased in the cells expressing ras oncoprotein. In addition, the duration required for the appearance of foci was shortened in the ras-transfected cells. Consistent with other reports, our results demonstrated an evidence that the ras-oncogene induced the cellular transformation of human epithelial cell system. When a high concentration of glucocorticoid was added into the media, transformation process was accelerated. It is speculated that glucocorticoid may provide an advantageous environment for the proliferation of the transformed cells. The induction of the intracellular free calcium concentrations following agonist treatment was significantly lower in the transformed cells than in the control cells. These effects were more manifested in the presence of extracellular cacium, indicating that the transformation process may alter the influx pathway of extracellular calcium. The induction of IP3 following agonist treatment was also lower in the transformed cells than in the control cells. Thus, it is suggested that phospholipase C-coupled pathway was down-regulated in the process of the ras-induced transformation. While the levels of TGF-beta1 and PAI-2 mRNAs were decreased, the level of fibronectin mRNA was increased. The results indicate that mechanism of the ras-induced transformation may be associated with the altered expressions of growth regulatory factors. The present study demonstrates an evidence that the ras-induced cellular transformation may be associated with alteration of signal transduction and growth regulatory factors. The study will contribute to improve the understanding of molecular mechanism of epithelium-derived cancers including oral cancer.