Androgens are considered to play a substantial role in pathogenesis of both benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer. The importance of determination of androgen levels in tissue and serum for cancer progression and prognosis has been poorly understood. The aim of study was to find out hormonal differences in both diseases, their correlations between intraprostatic and serum levels and predicted value of their investigation. Testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, androstenedione and also epitestosterone were determined in prostate tissue from 57 patients who underwent transvesical prostatectomy for BPH and 121 patients after radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer. In 75 subjects with cancer and 51 with BPH the serum samples were analyzed for testosterone, dihydrotestosterone and SHBG. Significantly higher intraprostatic androgen concentrations, i.e. 8.85+/-6.77 versus 6.44+/-6.43 pmol/g, p<0.01 for dihydrotestosterone, and 4.61+/-7.02 versus 3.44+/-4.53 pmol/g, p<0.05 for testosterone, respectively, were found in patients with prostate cancer than in BPH. Higher levels in cancer tissue were found also for epitestosterone. However, no differences were found in serum levels. Highly significant correlations occurred between all pairs of intraprostatic androgens and also epitestosterone as well as between serum testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (p<0.001) in both BPH and cancer groups. Correlation was not found between corresponding tissue and serum testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, either in benign or cancer samples. The results point to importance of intraprostatic hormone levels for evaluation of androgen status of patients, contrasting to a low value of serum hormone measurement.