Slits are a group of secreted glycoproteins that play a role in the regulation of cell migration. Previous studies suggested that Slit2 might be a tumor-suppressor gene. However, it remained to be determined whether Slit2 suppressed tumor growth and metastasis in animal models. We showed that Slit2 expression was decreased or abolished in human esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) compared to normal tissues by in situ hybridization. Stable transfection of human SCC A431 and fibrosarcoma HT1080 cells with Slit2 gene suppressed tumor growth in athymic nude mice. Apoptosis in Slit2-transfected tumors was increased, whereas proliferating cells were decreased, suggesting a mechanism for Slit2-mediated tumor suppression. This was supported by further analysis indicating that antiapoptotic molecules Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl and cell cycle molecules Cdk6 and Cyclin D1 were downregulated in Slit2-transfected tumors. Furthermore, wound healing and Matrigel invasion assays showed that the transfection with Slit2 inhibited tumor cell migration and invasion. Slit2-transfected tumors showed a high level of keratin 8/18 and a low level of N-cadherin expression compared to empty vector-transfected tumors. More importantly, Slit2 transfection suppressed the metastasis of HT1080 tumor cells in lungs after intravenous inoculation. Collectively, our study has demonstrated that Slit2 inhibits tumor growth and metastasis of fibrosarcoma and SCC and that its effect on cell cycle and apoptosis signal pathways is an important mechanism for Slit2-mediated tumor suppression. Copyright © 2008 Neoplasia Press, Inc. All rights reserved.