AIM: To determine the presence and nature of amyloid in prostatic corpora amylacea using immunohistological studies. METHODS: Prostatic tissue from 18 transurethral and two open resection specimens was studied. Paraffin wax embedded tissue sections were stained with haematoxylin and eosin and the alkaline Congo red method with and without previous treatment with potassium permanganate. Sections were also stained with antibodies to amyloid A, beta 2 microglobulin, lambda and kappa light chains, prealbumin IgA, G, M, S100 protein, prostatic specific antigen, amyloid P component and CAM 5.2 (control and blocking studies were performed). RESULTS: The prostatic corpora amylacea universally showed the presence of amyloid. In all instances this contained beta 2 microglobulin. CONCLUSION: Prostatic corpora amylacea represents a localised amyloidosis of beta 2 microglobulin origin that is unrelated to chronic renal failure and haemodialysis.