The human pancreatic cancer cell line (SW 1990) was exposed to 0.2 microg/ml of octreotide, galanin or serotonin as single, double or triple combinations. The tumor cells were checked at 3, 6 and 12 hours. In order to determine the number of viable cancer cells, the MTT-assay was used. Proliferation, apoptosis and the expression of epidermal growth factor were detected with immunohistochemistry using the avidin-biotin complex method. In addition, apoptosis was also detected with (TUNEL) method. The primary antibodies used were proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), anti-poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and anti-human epidermal growth factor. Single treatment with octreotide or serotonin reduced, the number of viable cells and the proliferation index at all observation times. Galanin increased the number of viable cells and the proliferation index. Whereas double treatments containing octreotide reduced the number of viable cells, those containing galanin increased the number. The effect of single, double or triple treatment on the apoptotic index obtained with both TUNEL method and PARP expression varied depending on the combination and the observation time. Octreotide did not affect the tumor cell expression of EGF. Galanin and serotonin, on the other hand, increased the expression of EGF. Whereas triple combination increased the expression of EGF after 6 h, all the other double combinations decreased this expression. It has been concluded that treatment with a combination of octreotide and serotonin may be useful in clinical settings.