Human prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), a 100-kDa integral transmembrane glycoprotein, is considered to be a highly specific marker of the prostate gland, and has successfully been used as a marker of circulating prostatic epithelial cells. Extended PSMA homology has been demonstrated with a cDNA found in rat cerebral and renal tissues. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the expression of PSMA mRNA in a variety of human renal cancer tissues (n = 20) and cell lines (n = 12). Using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, DNA sequencing, blottings, and specific anti-PSMA labelling with CYT 351 antibody, we identified PSMA mRNA and protein in normal and in neoplastic renal tissue. The sequence of the polymerase-chain-reaction products is identical to that of PSMA cDNA derived from prostate tissue. Immunological staining with the CYT 351 reveals that PSMA is expressed mainly in tubular cells. Since PSMA does not appear to be restricted to prostatic tissue, this novel biomarker may prove useful in the staging of renal cancer and in the search for the hematogenous spread of renal cells.