The ductus deferens smooth muscle tumor cell line (DDT1-MF-2) is very sensitive to steroids. Treatment with 10 nM testosterone accelerates the growth of DDT1 cells in the absence of serum. Glucocorticoids in the presence or absence of androgens inhibits growth. Stimulation of growth of DDT1 cells by testosterone can be replaced by the addition of heparin-binding growth factor I and II (HBGF). Addition of testosterone plus HBGF growth factors results in a further increase in cell number. By in situ hybridization, accumulation of HBGF-I mRNA is significantly increased by testosterone treatment of low density cultures. Testosterone treatment of high density cultures results in no stimulation of HBGF-I mRNA accumulation. Glucocorticoids alone, which block growth of DDT1 cells, have no effect of HBGF-I mRNA accumulation. However, the simultaneous addition of glucocorticoid and androgens to DDT1 cells results in a rapid accumulation of HBGF-I mRNA by 12 h, although growth is inhibited by the presence of both steroid analogs.