Two hundred consecutive staging lymphadenectomies with metastatic prostate adenocarcinoma and 100 consecutive autopsies with widely disseminated metastatic prostate adenocarcinoma were identified. The metastases from 41% of the staging lymphadenectomies were entirely differentiated (gland forming) and an additional 43% were predominantly (50% or more) differentiated. In contrast, the metastases from 70% of the autopsies were entirely undifferentiated (non-gland forming) and an additional 18% were predominantly undifferentiated. Further, five patients with completely or predominantly differentiated metastases in staging lymphadenectomies were found to have widespread completely or predominantly undifferentiated metastases at autopsy 4-7 years later. These findings suggest that dedifferentiation occurs within metastases and that dedifferentiation within metastases may be important in understanding the widespread dissemination of metastatic prostate carcinoma.