Direct determination of androgen levels in prostate tissue provides a perspective on the organ that is not available via androgen serum levels. The principle prostatic androgens, primarily dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and secondarily testosterone, can be readily assayed in quick-frozen prostate biopsy cores or surgical specimens. Such assays have proved important in establishing (1) that DHT is a permissive factor in BPH pathogenesis, (2) a mechanism for the treatment of BPH, (3) an understanding of prostate cancer chemoprevention, (4) an explanation for the 'escape' of prostate cancer from castration therapy, (5) prostate safety of testosterone replacement therapy, and (6) insights into the cause of racial differences of prostate cancer. Future opportunities include clarification of new drug mechanisms for BPH and prostate cancer, as well as a better understanding of the pathogenesis of both, and as an aid in individual patient management. Determination of prostate tissue androgens may soon transition from research tool to clinical test.