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Purpose: Macrophage inhibitory cytokine-1 (MIC-1) is a divergent member of the tumor growth factor ß (TGF-ß) superfamily. Several observations suggest that it plays a role in colorectal carcinoma (CRC). In particular, MIC-1 is markedly up-regulated in colorectal cancers as well as in premalignant adenomas. This study examines the relationship of serum MIC-1 levels and genotypes to clinical and pathologic features of colonic neoplasia. Experimental Design: We confirmed the presence of MIC-1 in CRC tissue and the cell line CaCo-2. The normal range for serum MIC-1 levels was defined in 260 healthy blood donors, and the differences between normal subjects and 193 patients having adenomatous polyps or CRC were then determined. In a separate cohort of 224 patients, we evaluated the relationship of MIC-1 serum level and genotype to standard tumor parameters and outcome measures. Results: MIC-1 was expressed in CRC tissue and the cancer cell line CaCo-2. There was a progressive increase in serum MIC-1 levels between normal individuals [mean (M) = 495 pg/ml, SD = 210), those with adenomatous polyps (M = 681 pg/ml, SD = 410), and those with CRC (M = 783 pg/ml, SD = 491)]. Serum MIC-1 level was correlated with the extent of disease so that the levels were higher in patients with higher Tumor-Node-Metastasis stage. There were significant differences in time to relapse and overall survival between subjects with different MIC-1 levels and genotypes. Conclusions: This study identifies a strong association between MIC-1 serum levels and neoplastic progression within the large bowel. We suggest that the measurement of serum MIC-1 levels and determination of MIC-1 genotype may have clinical use in the management of patients with CRC.