There is a need for the development of new diagnostic tools for the early detection of prostate cancer. A candidate molecule for a new screening test is a prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSM) recognized by the monoclonal antibody 7E11.C5. We carried out studies aimed at identifying PSM in the serum of normal and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) donors and patients with adenocarcinoma of the prostate, in order to judge whether the development of a serum assay using this marker was feasible. By Western blotting, we found significant levels of PSM in serum samples from prostatic cancer patients, in the seminal fluid of pooled normal donors, in BPH patients, and in normal male sera. Similar to prostate-specific antigen (PSA), PSM was present in seminal plasma in higher concentrations than in serum, and PSM levels in prostatic cancer patients were significantly higher than in normal controls. These data suggest that the development of an assay utilizing the PSM and new monoclonal antibodies directed against the antigen, could provide a feasible test for prostatic cancers. © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.