A prostate-specific antigen, distinct from acid phosphatase, was identified by immunologic procedures in prostate tissues (normal, benign hypertrophic, and cancerous) and seminal plasma, as well as in sera of patients with prostatic cancer and of nude mice bearing human prostatic tumor. This antigen was shown by immunoperoxidase staining to be confined to epithelial cells comprising the prostatic ductal elements. Prostate antigen was purified from prostatic tissue and seminal plasma, and it was shown to have a molecular weight of 33,000-34,000 with no subunit component. The isolectric point of purified antigen was around 6.9, though several unpurified isomers with different isoelec-tric points also were observed. Serum-borne prostate antigen showed a molecular weight of 90,000-100,000, but it exhibited a molecular weight of 36,000 in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate. A sandwich-type, peroxidase-linked immunosorbent assay capable of detecting 0.1ng of the antigen per milliliter of blood was developed. With this technique, serum level of the antigen was found to increase in patients with prostatic cancer as compared with normal males. The prostate-specific antigen can be a useful marker for detection of prostatic cancer.