The major groups of enzymes involved in activating and detoxifying therapeutic drugs, not least several anti-cancer drugs, include the cytochromes P450 (P450s), epoxide hydrolase, and glutathione S-transferases (GSTs). The expression of these enzymes in malignant tumours is one possible mechanism of anti-cancer drug resistance. This study has investigated the presence, cellular localization, and distribution of drug-metabolizing enzymes in prostate cancer. The P450 subfamilies CYP1A, CYP2C, and CYP3A were present in 63, 25, and 61 per cent of tumours, respectively. Epoxide hydrolase was identified in 96 per cent of tumours. GST-alpha and GST-mu were expressed in 29 and 41 per cent of tumours, respectively, while there was no immunoreactivity for the pi form of GST. The absence of GST-pi in prostate cancer contrasts with the frequent expression of GST-pi observed in other types of malignant tumour. In non-neoplastic prostatic epithelium, there was expression of CYP1A, CYP2C, epoxide hydrolase, and the different forms of GST, while there was no apparent immunoreactivity for CYP3A.