Complementary DNA of a rat brain glucose transporter gene was used to examine the expression of glucose-transporter messenger RNA in paired human hepatocellular carcinomas and adjacent nontumorous liver tissues, as well as in human hepatoma cell lines and human fetal liver samples. High expression of a major 2.8-kilobase glucose-transporter transcript was seen in all hepatoma cell lines and fetal liver samples examined, whereas a much lower level of expression was observed in liver tissues. When pairs of liver tissues were examined, elevation of glucose-transporter RNA levels was observed in most of the hepatocellular carcinoma tissues examined.