We examined the characteristics of mitogens extracted from human benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostatic adenocarcinoma tissue. Although mitogens for fetal rat skin fibroblasts as well as for rat calvarial osteoblasts and osterosarcoma cells were found, distinct entities that acted selectively in cells of the osteoblast phenotype could be obtained by sequential reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography. Two peptides with apparent molecular weights of 10,000 and 13,000 D were derived from hyperplastic tissue, whereas a single moiety of 10,000 D was obtained from malignant tissue. These entities increased cell numbers and alkaline phosphatase activity in osteoblastlike cells consistent with effects on both growth and differentiation. Prostatic peptides did not stimulate adenylate cyclase in osteosarcoma cells. Mitogenic activity selective for osteoblastlike cells was identified in postpubertal but not prepubertal normal prostate. The results demonstrate the existence of osteoblastic growth factors in prostatic tissue whose presence may accompany postpubertal development.