Protein S, an anticoagulant factor in the protein C antithrombotic pathway, was found to be synthesized and released by six tumor cell lines of neural origin by western blotting and ELISA. The rate of synthesis ranged from three- to 11-fold higher than that of a microvascular endothelial cell line and 36-144% that of a hepatoma cell line. The secreted protein S displayed specific anticoagulant activity similar to that of purified plasma protein S, implying that it was fully gamma-carboxylated. Ten primary brain tumor tissues also expressed protein S antigen, as shown by western blot analysis. Expression of anticoagulantly active protein S by neural cells raises important questions concerning possible physiologic roles for this multidomain protein beyond its function in control of thrombosis.