To date four prostate cancer predisposing loci have been mapped: HPC1 (Hereditary Prostate Cancer 1) on 1q24-25, PCaP (Predisposing for Cancer Prostate) on 1q42.2-43, CAPB (Cancer Prostate and Brain) on 1p36, and HPCX on Xq27-28. We examined evidence for linkage to those loci in 64 families from south and west Europe. Genotyping of three (six for PCaP) markers encompassing the candidate regions were performed on 221 individuals including 159 affected patients. The resulting data were analysed using both parametric and non parametric linkage methods. No significant evidence of linkage to HPC1, CAPB, or HPCX was found either in the whole population or when pedigrees were stratified according to criteria specific to each locus. By contrast, results in favour of linkage to PCaP locus were observed with maximum multipoint NPL and HLOD scores of 2.8 (P = 0.0026) and 2.65 respectively. Homogeneity analysis performed with multipoint LOD scores gave an estimated proportion of families with linkage to this locus up to 50%. Particularly, families with an earlier age at diagnosis (< or = 65-years-old) contributed significantly to the evidence of linkage with a maximum multipoint NPL score of 2.03 (P = 0.024). Those results suggest that PCaP is the most frequent known locus predisposing to hereditary prostate cancer cases from families from south and west Europe.