Fibroblast Growth Factors 3 (FGF-3) and 4 (FGF-4) were compared for the effects they each exert on EF43 mouse cells. This non-transformed mammary cell line appears to be myoepithelial mainly because it expresses α-smooth muscle actin. The EF43 cells were infected with similar vectors that carry either the short fgf-3 sequence (the product of which goes into the secretory pathway), fgf-4 or the selection gene only as control. In syngeneic animals, EF43.fgf-3 cells were tumorigenic only when orthotopically implanted whereas EF43.fgf-4 cells invariably gave rise to aggressive tumors. However, both tumor types were metastatic as evidenced by the blue micrometastases observed when the implanted cells expressed lacZ. In vitro, the FGF-3 producing cells were strongly invasive in matrigel coated chambers whereas the EF43.fgf-4 cells only were invasive in type I-collagen gels. Interestingly, FGF-3 production greatly stimulated the synthesis of pro-MMP-9 (Matrix Metalloprotease-9) and, to a lesser extent, that of pro-MMP-2. FGF-3 also up-regulated the production of plasminogen activators. In contrast, FGF-4 had no effect on these secretions and the medium conditioned by the EF43.fgf-4 cells displayed the largest plasminogen activator–inhibitor activity. These results show that FGF-3 and FGF-4 have distinct mechanisms of action on myoepithelial cells.