The growth of prostate cancer is androgen responsive, and androgen receptor (AR) is thought to play an important role in the development of this cancer. Recently, some reports demonstrated that AR gene mutations were detected in human prostate cancer tissues. We have previously reported that one of eight endocrine therapy-resistant prostate cancer cases showed AR gene mutation [Suzuki et al: J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 46:759-765, 1993]. To further investigate structural abnormality of the AR in a large number of human prostate cancers, exons B-H encoding DNA-and hormone-binding domains were examined by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis of polymerase chain reaction products and direct sequencing. Tissues surgically removed from 30 cases of stage B or C prostate cancer and from 22 cases of endocrine therapy-resistant cancers obtained at autopsy were used in the study. Three out of 22 cancer death cases (14%) revealed AR gene mutations, one of which contained two different mutations-exon D in cancerous prostate and exon H in metastatic tissues. In the other two cases, AR gene mutations in exon H were found in metastatic tissues. All three cases in metastatic tissues showed the same mutation at codon 877 (877Thr-->Ala). In stage B or C cancer tissues and the other cancer death samples, no AR mutation was detected. The mutation in exon H was identical to that reported in a human prostate cancer cell line, LNCaP. These results indicate that AR gene mutation scarcely occurs in the early stage of prostate cancer and that the mutation is found in relation to endocrine therapy resistance. Two patients with an AR gene mutation at codon 877 revealed a remarkable fall in prostate-specific antigen after withdrawal of antiandrogen. Data on the other case were not available. These results indicate that a codon 877 mutation in the AR gene in advanced prostate cancer evokes the antiandrogen withdrawal syndrome. To our knowledge, this report is the first description of relationship between an AR mutation at codon 877 and the antiandrogen withdrawal syndrome.