AIM To analyze the expression profiles of a human gastric-cancer-related gene, GCRG123, in human gastric signet-ring cell carcinoma tissues, and to perform bioinformatics analysis on GCRG123. METHODS In situ hybridization was used to explore the GCRG123 expression pattern in paraffin-embedded gastric tissues, including 15 cases of signet-ring cell carcinoma, 15 of intestinal-type adenocarcinoma, and 15 of normal gastric mucosa. Northern blotting was used to analyze the differences in GCRG123 expression between stomach signet-ring cell carcinoma and intestinal-type adenocarcinoma tissues. Online software, including BLAST, Multalin and BLAT, were applied for bioinformatics analysis. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) databases were used for the analyses. RESULTS The in situ hybridization signal appeared as blue precipitates restricted to the cytoplasm. Ten out of 15 cases of gastric signet ring cell carcinoma, normal gastric mucosal epithelium and pyloric glands showed high GCRG123 expression. Low GCRG123 expression was observed in gastric intestinal-type adenocarcinoma and normal gastric glands. Northern blotting revealed that GCRG123 was up-regulated in signet-ring cell carcinoma tissue but down-regulated in intestinal-type adenocarcinoma tissue. BLAST and Multalin analyses revealed that the GCRG123 sequence had 92% similarity with the ORF2 sequence of human long interspersed nuclear element retrotransposons (LINE-1, L1). BLAT analysis indicated that GCRG123 mapped to all chromosomes. GCRG123 was found to integrate in the intron-17 and -23 of Rb, 5' flanking region of IL-2 and clotting factor IX genes. CONCLUSION GCRG123, an active member of the L1 family, was up-regulated in human gastric signet-ring cell carcinoma.