The tumorigenicity, migration, growth and invasiveness of certain tumor cells is stimulated by basement membranes. Here we have examined the effect of Matrigel, an extract of basement membrane proteins, on the behavior of several prostate cancer cell lines, testing their growth and invasiveness in vitro and in vivo. Cells of the Tsu-prI line were more invasive than PC-3, Du-145, or LNCaP cells. Peptide inhibitors implicated laminin in the migration and invasion of these cells. When these cells were suspended in Matrigel and injected into nude mice, their growth was greatly enhanced, since large tumors formed in athymic nude mice whereas virtually no tumors were observed in the absence of Matrigel. The growth of a slowly growing line, LNCaP, was increased by exogenous basic fibroblast growth factor when injected with Matrigel. A laminin cell adhesion peptide, YIGSR, was a potent inhibitor of Matrigel-stimulated tumor growth implicating cell-laminin interactions in this process. These results suggest that tumor growth of prostate adenocarcinoma cells may be dependent both on cellular growth factors and on cell-matrix interactions mediated by laminin which facilitate the development of transplanted tumors in nude mice.