Prostate carcinoma (PC) is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the western world. Although the role of oncogenes and growth factors in prostate carcinoma is still unclear, overexpression of the epidermal growth factor receptor (erbB-1) and the proto-oncogene erbB-2 have been reported in prostate tumors, and erbB-2 related to poor prognosis and distant metastasis. Recent allelotyping studies in prostate cancer have shown chromosomal gains in 7p and 17q, regions where erbB-1 and erbB-2 are localized respectively, although no direct evidence of an increased gene copy number of either erbB-1 or erbB-2 has been reported. To address this question, we analyzed 20 benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) samples and 36 samples of metastatic and non-metastatic PC by means of semiquantitative PCR. Thus, 64% (11/17) and 52% (10/19) of metastatic and non-metastatic tumors respectively showed gains of the relative genomic content of erbB-1 and an association of erbB-1 with prostate cancer but not with metastasis. Additionally, 41% (7/17) of metastatic samples showed gains of erbB-2 genomic content, suggesting an association of erbB-2 with metastasis and poor prognosis (p<0.005). No gains of erbB-1 or erbB-2 genomic content were detected in the BPH samples.