A comparative study of the expression of p21, Rb, mcl-1, and bad gene products, which are involved in the control of the cell cycle, was performed in normal, hyperplastic, and carcinomatous human prostates by means of a semiquantitative immunochemical study. This included Western blot, ELISA, and immunohistochemistry procedures. In normal prostates, immunoexpression of the four gene products was scanty or absent. In men with benign prostatic hyperplasia, immunoreactions to the four proteins studied were found in many epithelial cells and some stromal cells. In prostatic carcinoma, the immunostaining pattern was as in hyperplastic prostates but the numbers of both epithelial and stromal cells were higher. Present results indicate that immunoexpression of p21, Rb (both the phosphorylated and dephosphorylated forms), mcl-1, and bad gene products are markedly increased in prostates with proliferative alterations but that these proteins do not discriminate between benignant (hyperplasia) and malignant (adenocarcinoma) prostatic tumours, although immunoexpression is higher in prostatic carcinoma.