The multifunctional cell-surface protein dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPPIV/CD26) is aberrantly expressed in many cancers and plays a key role in tumorigenesis and metastasis. Its diverse cellular roles include modulation of chemokine activity by cleaving dipeptides from the chemokine NH2-terminus, perturbation of extracellular nucleoside metabolism by binding the ecto-enzyme adenosine deaminase, and interaction with the extracellular matrix by binding proteins such as collagen and fibronectin. We have recently shown that DPPIV can be downregulated from the cell surface of HT-29 colorectal carcinoma cells by adenosine, which is a metabolite that becomes concentrated in the extracellular fluid of hypoxic solid tumors. Most of the known responses to adenosine are mediated through four different subtypes of G protein-coupled adenosine receptors: A1, A2A, A2B, and A3. We report here that adenosine downregulation of DPPIV from the surface of HT-29 cells occurs independently of these classic receptor subtypes, and is mediated by a novel cell-surface mechanism that induces an increase in protein tyrosine phosphatase activity. The increase in protein tyrosine phosphatase activity leads to a decrease in the tyrosine phosphorylation of ERK1/2 MAP kinase that in turn links to the decline in DPPIV mRNA and protein. The downregulation of DPPIV occurs independently of changes in the activities of protein kinases A or C, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, other serine/threonine phosphatases, or the p38 or JNK MAP kinases. This novel action of adenosine has implications for our ability to manipulate adenosine-dependent events within the solid tumor microenvironment.