Over-expression of components of the urokinase system is well documented in cancer and is thought to enable tumour cells to migrate and invade. Changes in integrin expression are also a common feature of tumours and have been linked to changes in protease activity. It has been shown that the alphavbeta6 integrin is neo-expressed in a number of epithelial carcinomas and in wound healing situations. We therefore investigated whether alphavbeta6 is able to modulate a key regulator of proteolysis, the urokinase receptor. We report that epithelial cells expressing full-length alphavbeta6 exhibit decreased urokinase receptor expression and function. Furthermore, this novel modulation requires the C-terminal 11 amino acids of the cytoplasmic tail of the beta6 integrin subunit. Cells expressing alphavbeta3, however, did not affect urokinase receptor expression. De novo expression of beta6 by melanoma cells and beta3 by epithelial cells did not influence urokinase receptor expression or function, suggesting that modulation of urokinase system is both integrin subunit and cell-specific.