Résumé : BACKGROUNDA variety of hormones have demonstrated effects on prostatic tissue growth dynamics. Our goal was to define the effect of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), epidermal growth factor (EGF), and prolactin (PRL) on prostate cellular proliferation.METHODSThirty benign human prostatic hyperplasias (BPH) were maintained 48 hr as in vitro cultures. Culture media were supplemented with EGF, DHT, and PRL alone and in combinations. Proliferation was assessed by labeling with tritiated thymidine.RESULTSThe proliferative response of individual BPH cultures was heterogeneous. DHT and EGF tended to have a greater proliferative effect than PRL, both in terms of the percent cultures responding and the magnitude of the response. PRL antagonized EGF-induced proliferative effects. EGF- and PRL-mediated effects correlated with each other, while DHT-mediated effects did not correlate with either those of PRL or EGF.CONCLUSIONSThe proliferative response of individual BPH to DHT, EGF, and PRL, alone or in combination, is too variable to define a predictable response to their influence. Our methodology represents a technique with the capacity to define therapeutic potential for individual cases. Prostate 30:47–52, 1997 © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.