Cribriform and/or papillary prostatic lesions observed on limited tissue, such as needle biopsy, can pose diagnostic dilemmas. One such area of difficulty is the distinction between papillary and/or cribriform prostatic high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HG-PIN) and ductal adenocarcinoma. Over 48 months, we identified 17 cases of ductal adenocarcinoma and 17 cases of HG-PIN from radical retropubic prostatectomy specimens. The HG-PIN lesions were in all cases associated with an acinar prostatic adenocarcinoma component. For each case, we evaluated the proliferative activity, assessed by Ki-67 immunohistochemistry. The majority (82%) of ductal adenocarcinomas were composed of mixed papillary and cribriform patterns, with the remaining demonstrating pure papillary or cribriform patterns. The HG-PIN lesions showed a papillary, cribriform, or mixed papillary/cribriform architecture. The proliferative activity, defined as Ki-67 labeling index, was statistically higher in ductal adenocarcinoma (mean 33%, range 21%-66%) as compared with HG-PIN (mean 6%, range 2%-15%), with no overlap in the Ki-67 indices (P = 0001). A combination of histological features and measurements of cellular proliferation may be helpful to distinguish HG-PIN from ductal adenocarcinoma in limited prostatic tissue samples.