AIM: To verify the expression and methylation status of the MAGE-A1 and MAGE-A3 genes in colorectal cancer tissues and cancer cell lines. METHODS: We evaluated promoter demethylation status of the MAGE-A1 and MAGE-A3 genes by RT-PCR analysis and methylation-specific PCR (MS-PCR), as well as sequencing analysis, after sodium bisulfite modification in 32 colorectal cancer cell lines and 87 cancer tissues. RESULTS: Of the 32 cell lines, MAGE-A1 and MAGE-A3 expressions were observed in 59% and 66%, respectively. Subsequent to sodium bisulfite modification and MS-PCR analysis, the promoter hypomethylation of MAGE-A1 and MAGE-A3 was confirmed in both at 81% each. Promoter hypomethylation of MAGE-A1 and MAGE-A3 in colorectal cancer tissues was observed in 43% and 77%, respectively. Hypomethylation of MAGE-A1 and MAGE-A3 genes in corresponding normal tissues were observed in 2% and 6%, respectively. CONCLUSION: The promoter hypomethylation of MAGE genes up-regulates its expression in colorectal carcinomas as well as in gastric cancers and might play a significant role in the development and progression of human colorectal carcinomas.