Familial predisposition together with several environmental factors may be involved in the pathogenesis of common prostate disease such as benign hypertrophy or prostate neoplasm. A higher incidence of both these conditions has been described in some insulin-resistant states such as obesity, but not much information is available on the effect of metabolic profile on gland morphology. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relation between glucose and lipid pattern and prostate diameters in two groups of non-diabetic individuals with benign prostate hypertrophy or cancer. 109 patients were recruited; plasma glucose, lipids and hormonal profile as well as an ultrasonographic evaluation of the gland volume and diameters were determined. Patients with prostate cancer had significantly higher levels of insulin and were more insulin resistant; in contrast, in subjects with prostate hypertrophy, fasting plasma glucose and--to a lesser extent--serum triglycerides emerged as the main determinants of gland volume. These observations may indicate that an improvement of insulin sensitivity and strategies to maintain a strict glucose and lipid control even in non-diabetic subjects are useful objectives in the prevention of prostate diseases.