Pancreas-specific protein (PASP) was compared with serum amylase in 95 episodes of acute pancreatitis with the diagnoses supported by elevated amylase levels. The etiology was typical for Scandinavian countries, with alcohol as the predominant factor, followed by cholelithiasis. PASP values were clearly raised in all patients, except in three cases found to have high salivary-type amylase levels, and one patient with recurrent alcohol pancreatitis. The rise of PASP levels were in general more pronounced than the corresponding amylase elevations, especially in severe pancreatitis. The elevations were generally parallel for the two analytes, but in 41% of the cases PASP levels remained elevated 2-11 days longer than the corresponding amylase levels. PASP was, however, eliminated from the circulation at a rate comparable to that of amylase. The serum range of PASP for 259 healthy subjects was 15-111 micrograms/L with 95% of the values within 16-98 micrograms/L. The upper reference level was set at 100 micrograms/L. PASP levels were also determined for 291 patients with disorders other than acute pancreatitis. Serum levels in patients with renal insufficiency (n = 12), primary biliary cirrhosis (n = 9), and diabetes mellitus (n = 17) were equal to those in healthy subjects. Eight patients of 173 with acute abdominal disorders and no evidence of pancreatitis had elevated PASP levels as well as 4 patients with prostatic carcinoma (n = 28) and 2 patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (n = 16). PASP values were low in chronic painful pancreatitis (n = 15) and pancreatic cancer (n = 11).