Hormonally insensitive prostate cancer is a relatively slow-growing, but usually fatal, disease with no long-term treatment options. Transformation of normal prostate cells to a malignant phenotype often involves corruption of the apoptotic machineries. Bcl-2 protein is one of the key inhibitors of apoptosis and is often unregulated in advanced prostate cancer. The prostate cancer cell line DU-145 was used as a model of a hormonally insensitive, advanced prostate cancer. Cell growth in liquid culture was significantly inhibited by antisense Bcl-2 oligonucleotides compared with control sense oligonucleotides; inhibition by these oligonucleotides was significantly enhanced on combination with the synthetic retinoid N-(2-hydroxyphenyl)all-trans-retinamide (2-HPR). Interestingly, growth inhibition occurred in the absence of apoptosis as measured using two assay techniques. We hypothesize that in these recalcitrant cells the apoptotic pathway is compromised at several levels, and Bcl-2 may play another role in promoting cell growth. The use of Bcl-2 antisense oligonucleotides plus 2-HPR may provide a novel approach to therapy of hormone-resistant prostate cancer.