Fibroblasts become cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in the tumor microenvironment after activation by transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and are critically involved in cancer progression. However, it is unknown whether the TGF superfamily member Nodal, which is expressed in various tumors but not expressed in normal adult tissue, influences the fibroblast to CAF conversion. Here, we report that Nodal has a positive correlation with α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) in clinical melanoma and colorectal cancer (CRC) tissues. We show the Nodal converts normal fibroblasts to CAFs, together with Snail and TGF-β signaling pathway activation in fibroblasts. Activated CAFs promote cancer growth in vitro and tumor-bearing mouse models in vivo. These results demonstrate that intercellular crosstalk between cancer cells and fibroblasts is mediated by Nodal, which controls tumor growth, providing potential targets for the prevention and treatment of tumors.