Detection of prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSM)-mRNA expression in blood samples using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is discussed as a new diagnostic marker of circulating micrometastases in prostate cancer patients. We applied the RT-PCR technique to different human tissues and obtained positive signals for PSM transcripts in human genital and multiple extra-genital tissue sites. The cDNAs were prepared from different human tissues and prostatic cell lines. RT-PCR and nested RT-PCR for PSM was performed with primers derived from the published PSM cDNA. The RT-PCR fragments obtained were cloned and showed 100% sequence homology to PSM. Southern blot hybridization with labeled probes was used to confirm the specificity of the amplicons. In addition to the known PSM expression in the human brain, PSM-mRNA was detected in cDNA isolated from human testis, epididymis and seminal vesicles and in the PC-3 prostatic cancer cell line. Furthermore, we found PSM-mRNA in heart, liver, lung, kidney, spleen, and thyroid gland. The results indicate that PSM expression is not restricted to the prostate gland, but represents a more general component of genital and extra-genital human tissues. This must be considered when RT-PCR and nested RT-PCR screening for PSM expression is performed as a diagnostic measure in blood from prostate cancer patients.