The parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) gene consists of nine exons and allows the production of multiple PTHrP mRNA species via the use of three promoters and 5' and 3' alternative splicing; as a result of 3' alternative splicing one of three protein isoforms may be produced. This organisation has potential for tissue-specific splicing patterns. We examined PTHrP mRNA expression and splicing patterns in a series of tumours and normal tissues, using the sensitive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technique. Use of promoter 3 and mRNA specifying the 141 amino acid PTHrP isoform were detected in all samples. Transcripts encoding the 139 amino acid isoform were detected in all but two samples. Use of promoters 1 and 2 was less widespread as was detection of mRNA encoding the 173 amino acid isoform. While different PTHrP splicing patterns were observed between tumours, no tissue- or tumour-specific transcripts were detected. In comparing normal and tumour tissue from the same patient, an increase in the number of promoters utilised was observed in the tumour tissue. Furthermore, mRNA for the PTH/PTHrP receptor was detected in all samples, thus the PTHrP produced by these tumours may potentially act in an autocrine or paracrine fashion.