For the sake of better understanding the molecular mechanism of neoplasia, we have used the mRNA differential display technique to analyze two human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines, AGZY83-a and Anip973. Anip973 was isolated from AGZY83-a, but manifested much higher metastatic potential than the parent line. We found that a significant differential cDNA fragment in Anip973 was over-expressed, then over-expressed cDNA fragment was cloned and sequenced. It showed that the over-expressed cDNA in Anip973 was RAB5A cDNA. And the RAB5A cDNA sequence was corresponding between the two cells. To determine whether RAB5A may be differentially expressed in the two human lung adenocarcinoma cells at protein level, we further detected RAB5A protein in the two cells by using immunofluorescent method. RAB5A protein was upregulated in highly metastatic Anip973. We also detected the difference in RAB5A gene expression at RNA level in human non-small cell lung carcinoma by RT-PCR. Using immunohistochemical staining, we also examined RAB5A change at protein level in 45 cases human non-small cell lung carcinoma paraffin sections. The results proved the evidence of upregulation of RAB5A in malignant tumor, indicated over-expression of RAB5A gene was correlated with the malignant degree and metastatic potential of lung cancer(χ2 test, p < 0.01). The RAB5A gene is a member of RAS superfamily, which can transcribe GTP-binding protein that plays an important role in signal transduction of protein trafficking at the cell surface and GDP/GTP cycle in the regulation of endocytotic membrane traffic. Thus our results indicated that over-expression of the RAB5A gene was involved in the process of transformation from AGZY83-a to the higher metastatic cell line Anip973. The result may be a powerful experimental evidence that over-expression of RAB5A gene associated with neoplasia metastasis.