Expression of pancreatic trypsinogen and cathepsin B in 23 surgically resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas was evaluated immunohistochemically, using a monoclonal antibody against human pancreatic trypsinogen and a polyclonal antibody against human cathepsin B. Fifteen of 20 invasive tubular adenocarcinomas (75%) expressed pancreatic trypsinogen in a coarse granular pattern located in the supranuclear cytoplasm of the carcinoma cells. In addition, metastatic lesions, including those in peripancreatic lymph nodes and neural plexuses, expressed pancreatic trypsinogen. In contrast, three intraductal (non-invasive) papillary adenocarcinomas did not express pancreatic trypsinogen. Cathepsin B expression was recognised in 14 of 20 invasive tubular adenocarcinomas (70%) in a fine granular pattern located diffusely in the cytoplasm of the carcinoma cells, while none of the three intraductal papillary adenocarcinomas had detectable cathepsin B. These findings suggest that pancreatic invasive ductal adenocarcinomas express pancreatic trypsinogen and cathepsin B immunoreactive peptides, raising the possibility that pancreatic trypsinogen and cathepsin B may act independently of each other in the process of carcinoma invasion and metastasis, like other different classes of proteases involved in the proteolytic modification of the matrix barrier.