Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) acts via pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), an antiangiogenic protein, to regulate retinal pigment epithelium migration. PEDF expression and/or regulation during melanoma development have not been investigated previously. Using immunohistochemistry, we determined expression of PEDF in common and dysplastic melanocytic nevi, melanoma in situ, invasive melanoma, and metastatic melanoma (n = 102). PEDF expression was consistently decreased in invasive and metastatic melanoma, compared with nevi and melanoma in situ (P < 0.0001). PEDF was lost in thicker melanomas (P = 0.003), and correlated with depth of invasion (P = 0.003) and distant metastasis (P = 0.0331), but only marginally with mitotic index, AJCC stage, nodal metastasis, or blood vascular density (0.05 < P < 0.10). Quantitative real-time PCR and microarray analyses confirmed PEDF down-regulation at the mRNA level in several melanoma lines, compared with melanocytes. MITF positively correlated with PEDF expression in invasive melanomas (P = 0.0003). Searching for PEDF regulatory mechanisms revealed two occupied conserved E-boxes (DNA recognition elements) in the first intron of the human and mouse PEDF promoter regions, confirmed by binding assays. Dominant-negative and siRNA approaches in vivo demonstrated direct transcriptional influence of MITF on PEDF, establishing the PEDF gene (SERPINF1) as a MITF target in melanocytes and melanoma cells. These findings suggest that loss of PEDF expression promotes early invasive melanoma growth.