For basic studies of receptor dynamics in androgen-responsive tissues and cells, the autoradiographic and cytochemical procedures were applied to cultured tumor cells (DU-145 and PC-3). Uptake and retention of 3H-R1881, a potent synthetic androgen, were observed in DU-145 cells. The radioactive labelling was intense, and solely confined to the nuclei of DU-145 cells. Radioactivity over PC-3 cells was minimal. For assessing binding specificity, DU-145 cells were incubated with 3H-R1881 in the presence or absence of either unlabelled R1881, testosterone, progesterone, estradiol-17 beta, or corticosterone. The displacement of 3H-R1881 with R1881 and testosterone was significant, while no displacement was observed with other steroids. Nuclear localization of cytochemical staining of the dihydrotestosterone-peroxidase conjugate was evident in DU-145 cells. Our results indicate that androgen receptor may reside primarily in target cell nuclei of androgen-responsive tissues and tumors.