BACKGROUND: High expression of tumor endothelial marker 7 (TEM7) is correlated with osteogenic sarcoma (OS) metastasis and poor survival of patients. The TEM7 gene produces four alternatively spliced transcripts with distinct functional domains; the expression pattern of these transcripts in OS is unknown. MATERIALS AND METHODS: mRNA expression was assessed in 5 OS cell lines, 7 normal bone, and 9 OS tumor specimens by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS: All OS cell lines, 6/9 tumors but none of the bone specimens expressed mRNA of TEM7 secreted forms 1 and 2. A total of 3/5 OS cell lines, 8/9 of tumors and 4/7 of bone specimens expressed mRNA of the TEM7 intracellular form. One out of 5 cell lines, 2/7 tumors and none of the bone specimens expressed mRNA of the TEM7 membrane form. The secreted forms had 20-fold higher expression in metastatic (LM7) compared to non-metastatic (SAOS-2) cells. CONCLUSION: The mRNA of secreted and the membrane forms of TEM7 are preferentially expressed in OS.