Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common benign proliferative disorder of unknown etiology found in men. Because insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) with their binding proteins (IGFBPs) are involved in the control of cellular proliferation, differentiation, and metabolism, we compared their secretion by prostatic epithelial and stromal cells in primary culture from the four different zones of normal prostate and from hyperplastic tissue to assess their contributions to the hyperplastic development. IGF-I could not be detected in the conditioned medium from either epithelial or stromal cells from normal and BPH tissues. IGF-II concentrations were the same in the conditioned medium from the epithelial cells of the different zones of the normal prostate and that of BPH cells. IGF-II concentrations secreted in stromal cell culture medium, however, were higher in the periurethral zone than in the peripheral and central zones. Moreover, in the periurethral zone, stromal cells secreted higher concentrations of IGF-II than did epithelial cells. Also, BPH stromal cells secreted more IGF-II than did BPH epithelial cells. IGFBP-3, IGFBP-2, and IGFBP-4 were all secreted by both epithelial and stromal cells. In contrast, IGFBP-5 was only produced by stromal cells of the periurethral zone of the normal prostate and BPH tissue. IGFBP-3 was predominantly secreted by normal stromal cells of the transitional zone. We observed that BPH stromal cells presented the same pattern of IGF-II and IGFBP production as normal stromal cells of the periurethral zone. These data support the hypothesis that the periurethral zone is the main region of the prostate implicated in the development of BPH. They also suggest that the variability in both IGF-II secretion and the secreted forms of IGFBPs, depending on anatomical location within the organ, may be important for the autocrine regulation of normal and hyperplastic prostate growth.