The effects of hormones and synthetic analogues have been examined on the growth of 2 human pancreatic cancer cell lines, MiaPaCa2 a well-established cell line and PANI which was derived in our own laboratories from a tumour specimen. The hormones/growth factors included gastrin (G-17), epidermal growth factor (EGF) and bombesin, while the synthetic analogues used were a gastrin receptor antagonist (CR 1718), a somatostatin analogue (RC-160) and a bombesin receptor antagonist (ICI 216,140). Cell proliferation was assessed by the [75Se]selenomethionine uptake method which has been shown to correlate with cell counts. The effect of each hormone or growth factor on growth was expressed as a percentage of the untreated control. There were 5 replicates in each experiment, and each one was repeated at least 3 times. In vitro growth of both cell lines was unaffected by gastrin, bombesin or the respective antagonists (CR1718 and ICI 216140). The somatostatin analogue RC-160 also had no effect on basal growth. Significant growth stimulation of both MiaPaCa2 and PANI was seen with epidermal growth factor. We tested the hypothesis that somatostatin analogues may inhibit EGF-stimulated growth on both MiaPaCa2, a somatostatin receptor positive cell line, and on PANI which is negative for somatostatin receptors. RC-160 did not inhibit EGF-stimulated growth of either MiaPaCA2 or PANI. Both cell lines were established in vivo as xenografts in nude mice. The effect of RC-160 on tumour growth was measured. RC-160 inhibited the growth of MiaPaCa2, the somatostatin receptor-positive cell line, but not of PANI.