The present study compares the prognostic potential of tumour grade and DNA ploidy status in patients with advanced-stage prostatic cancer. Two outcome groups were selected on the basis of time to progression and survival after orchiectomy. A poor-outcome group consisted of 32 therapy-resistant patients who experienced disease progression during the first year after orchiectomy and subsequently death due to prostatic cancer during the following year. A good-outcome group consisted of 27 therapy-responsive patients who showed disease regression and no signs of progression during a 3 year follow-up. The primary tumours were graded twice according to WHO and Gleason classification systems by two pathologists. Final agreement between the pathologists was obtained after a consensus meeting. The analysis revealed no prognostic importance of the two histological classification systems (P = 0.62 and P = 0.70) and disclosed weak inter- and intra-observer reproducibility (kappa < 0.70). DNA ploidy analyses were performed by image cytometry on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples of the primary tumours. Overall, 48% of the tumours were diploid, 20% tetraploid and 32% anueploid. DNA ploidy status did not discriminate between the two outcome groups (P = 0.46). Histological grade and DNA ploidy showed no prognostic importance in patients with prostatic cancer and skeletal metastases.