Previous work has shown the importance of tumour-stroma interactions for prostate cancer development at the primary site. The aim of the present study was to find out whether evidence can be found for a tumour-stroma cross- talk also between metastatic prostate cancer cell lines and non-prostatic stromal fibroblasts which are encountered by metastatic cells at most sites. We addressed this issue in cell culture systems using 3 metastatic human prostate cancer cell lines (LnCaP, PC-3 and DU-145) on the one hand, and a human fibroblast line (HFF, human foreskin fibroblasts) on the other. We incubated fibroblasts with tumour cell- and tumour cells with fibroblast-conditioned media and evaluated several parameters important for the establishment of metastases such as cell proliferation, migration and expression of matrix degrading proteases. We also determined in the conditioned media the concentrations of several growth factors and cytokines which might be responsible for the observed effects. We found that media conditioned by all 3 metastatic prostate cancer cell lines stimulated fibroblast proliferation which corresponds to fibrous stroma induction in vivo. DU-145 cell conditioned media induced in fibroblasts expression of mmp-1 mRNA known to be important for tumour invasion. ELISA assays revealed that tumour cells secrete bFGF, PDGF and TNFalpha known to stimulate fibroblast proliferation and/or MMP-1 expression. Cultivation of DU-145 carcinoma cells in fibroblast conditioned medium resulted in an enhanced proliferation and anchorage-independent growth of this cell line in soft agar. Fibroblast conditioned medium also increased migration of PC-3 cells in the wound assay and slightly augmented mmp-1 expression. KGF (able to stimulate proliferation of normal and neoplastic prostate epithelial cells) was secreted by fibroblasts at higher concentrations than by all 3 tumour cell lines. In addition, fibroblasts secreted TNFalpha, bFGF, PDGF, HGF and also VEGF, the most important factor for tumour vascularization. Our results provide evidence that tumour-stroma interactions do not only exist at the primary site but also between metastatic prostate cancer cell lines and their fibroblastic microenvironment. These interactions, which are mediated through secreted factors, affect several steps of the metastatic cascade including proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, migration and the secretion of matrix-degrading proteases.