In this report we have investigated levels of prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) gene expression in prostatic carcinoma (Ca) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) specimens. Northern-blot analyses of total prostatic mRNA indicated that there was a tendency towards lower amounts of PAP mRNA and PSA mRNA in the Ca specimens than in the BPH specimens, although, because of the great variation in the expression levels of both mRNAs, these differences were not statistically significant. In situ hybridization analyses clearly showed that both PAP and PSA mRNAs were confined to the columnar epithelial cells and that stromal cells were devoid of these mRNAs. In addition, PAP and PSA mRNAs were more abundant in BPH tissue than in adjacent Ca tissue within the same specimen. The levels of PAP and PSA enzymes were analyzed immunohistochemically using a bispecific antibody having high affinity for both PAP and PSA, and the results were compared with those obtained using monoclonal anti-PAP and anti-PSA antibodies. All 3 antibodies stained only epithelial cells and BPH tissue consistently gave more intense staining than Ca tissue. Furthermore, the anti-PSA and the bispecific anti-PAP-PSA antibodies stained well or moderately differentiated Ca tissues more strongly than poorly differentiated Ca tissues. No PSA staining was detected in 3 and no PAP staining in 5 of the moderately or poorly differentiated carcinomas (grades II or III). Our results show that, in comparison with BPH tissue, prostatic Ca tissue is associated with significantly lower levels of mRNAs coding for the prostatic marker enzymes PAP and PSA, as well as with lower concentrations of these enzymes. Furthermore, dedifferentiation of prostate Ca is associated with a decrease in the level of intraprostatic PSA.