The gastrointestinal peptide hormone gastrin is responsible for initiating the release of gastric acid in the stomach in response to the presence of food and/or humoral factors such as gastrin releasing peptide. However, it has a role in the growth and maintenance of the gastric epithelium, and has been implicated in the formation and growth of gastric cancers. Hypergastrinemia resulting from atrophic gastritis and pernicious anemia leads to hyperplasia and carcinoid formation in rats, and contributes to tumor formation in humans. Additionally, gastrin has been suspected to play a role in the formation and growth of cancers of the colon, but recent studies have instead implicated gastrin processing intermediates, such as gastrin-17-Gly, acting upon a putative, non-cholecystokinin receptor. This review summarizes the production and chemical structures of gastrin and of the processing intermediate gastrin-17-Gly, as well as their activities in the gastrointestinal tract, particularly the promotion of colon cancers.