Prostate tumor cells preferentially metastasize to bony sites and lymph nodes at a frequency in excess of that which would be predicted by random tumor cell dissemination. In order to determine whether chemoattractants in these organs promote organ-specific metastasis, we utilized human cell lines derived from and/or related to these organs as sources of potential chemoattractants. Secretory proteins derived from the cell lines MG-63 (osteosarcoma), SK-ES-1 (Ewing's sarcoma), and KG-1 (leukemia) stimulated chemomigration of the TSU-pr1 prostate tumor cells in a dose-dependent manner in Boyden chambers. In addition, secretory proteins from a human prostatic stromal cell line (hPS) and from the TSU-Pr1 prostate tumor cell line were also able to stimulate chemomigration of the TSU-pr1 cells through Boyden chambers. Since lymph nodes and bony sites represent organs of hematopoietic/lymphoid proliferation and activation, we undertook identification of specific cytokines present at these sites which may promote the chemomigration of prostate tumor cells. In this context, the cytokines interleukin-1 alpha, interleukin-2, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-beta, transforming growth factor-beta, interferon alpha 2-a, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor did not stimulate chemomigration of the TSU-pr1 prostate tumor cell line. In contrast, the cytokine epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulated chemomigration of the TSU-pr1 prostate tumor cells through the Boyden chambers in a dose-dependent manner. Western blot analysis of secretory proteins from the cell lines KG-1, SK-ES-1, MG-63, hPS, and TSU-pr1 identified EGF-immunoreactive proteins in all cases. In addition, EGF immunoreactivity was localized to the stroma of the human prostate, the osteogenic stroma of pelvic medullary bone, and the stroma within the capsule and trabeculae of pelvic lymph nodes. Hence, these results demonstrate that the cytokine EGF promotes the chemomigration of the TSU-pr1 prostate tumor cell line, and that EGF within the stroma of pelvic lymph nodes and medullary bone may act as a chemoattractant for prostate tumor cells, thereby facilitating the preferential formation of metastatic foci within these organs.