The effects of sodium butyrate (NaB) on the growth, morphology, and expression of blood group A, Lewis(a), and CA 19-9 antigen in the hamster pancreatic cancer cell lines, PC-1 (well differentiated) and PC-1.0 (poorly differentiated), and of blood group A, DU-PAN-2, and CA 19-9 antigens in four human pancreatic cancer cell lines, HPAF and CD11 (well differentiated) and CD18 and PANC-1 (poorly differentiated), were examined. NaB inhibited the growth of all cell lines and induced cell enlargement, an increase in secretory material, microfilaments, and pseudopodia. NaB stimulated the production of blood group A antigen in PC-1.0 cells dose dependently, but no change in the expression of this antigen was observed in the human cell lines. However, NaB treatment increased the presence of cells positive for CA 19-9 in PANC-1 but not in the remaining cell lines, none of which reacted with the anti-CA 19-9 antibody before or after NaB treatment. Untreated PANC-1 cells did not produce either blood group A or DU-PAN-2 antigen, but expressed these antigens after NaB treatment in a dose-dependent manner. The results suggest that NaB stimulates the differentiation of the hamster and human pancreatic cancer cell lines and increases or induces the expression of some tumor-associated antigens.