AR4–2J, a rat pancreatic acinar-tumor cell line, was used to investigate long-term effects of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and somatostatin on pancreatic cancer cells. We observed that bFGF stimulated cell proliferation when cells were cultured in serum-free medium. The effect was dose-dependent with half-maximal and maximal effects at 25 pM and I nM bFGF, respectively. The somatostatin analog SMS 201–995 (SMS) decreased the growth-promoting effect of bFGF. The maximal effect was observed at I nM SMS and the half-maximal effect at 20 pM SMS. Characterization of bFGF receptor-binding properties with [125I]bFGF revealed that AR4–2J cells exhibited 2 classes of bFGF binding site with respective KD values of 47 pM and 3 nM and binding capacities of 14 fmol and 0.9 pmol/106 cells. High-affinity receptors correlated with bFGF stimulation of AR4–2J cell growth, suggesting that the effects of bFGF are receptor-mediated.