To evaluate the efficacy of lymphangiography combined with fine needle aspiration biopsy and computer tomography (CT) for lymph node staging in clinically localized prostate cancer. Prospective evaluation of nodal involvement was carried out using standard bipedal lymphangiography combined with fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) in 70 patients (aged 47 to 75 years, mean age 63 years) with apparently locally confined prostate cancer before intended radical prostatectomy. Sixty-four patients also underwent computer tomography. Seventeen withdrew the decision to undergo a radical prostatectomy, leaving 53 patients with pathologic examination of the lymph nodes eligible for analysis. Lymph node metastases were diagnosed in 8 patients (8/53 = 15.1%). Three were diagnosed preoperatively by FNAB, 3 peroperatively by lymph node dissection and frozen section biopsy and an additional 2 at the final pathologic assessment. The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values for lymphangiography and lymphangiography combined with FNAB in predicting nodal disease, based on the analysis of the 53 patients with known pathologic results, were 0.63, 0.76, 0.31, 0.92 and 0.38, 1.00, 1.00, 0.90, respectively. The corresponding values for CT staging were 0.25, 0.98, 0.67 and 0.87, respectively. The efficacy of bipedal lymphangiography alone or combined with FNAB or CT alone for assessment of nodal metastases is too low to be worthwhile for lymph node staging in localized prostate cancer patients with expected low or intermediate probability of nodal disease.