From our series of 185 somatotropic adenomas with acromegaly, we found that sparsely granulated adenomas were more frequent (56%) than densely granulated ones. Immunocytochemistry detected growth hormone (GH) plurihormonal adenomas in 68% of patients. GH-alpha-subunit (alpha SU) and GH-alpha SU-prolactin (PRL) were more frequent (38%) than GH monohormonal adenomas (32%). The colocalization of GH and alpha SU in the same cell was obvious in many tumors. In contrast, colocalization of GH and PRL was demonstrated in only 25% of GH-PRL adenomas. The relationships between age, sex, tumor size, GH and PRL plasma levels, granularity, and percentage of GH-, alpha SU-, and PRL-immunoreactive cells were established in 105 acromegalic patients by three statistical methods, mainly by a principal component analysis. Correlations were found between the percentage of alpha SU- and GH-immunoreactive cells, and between densely granulated character and the percentage of GH-immunoreactive cells. Tumor size was not correlated with alpha SU, but was positively correlated with PRL plasma levels. Patients' age and percentage of GH-immunoreactive cells were inversely related to tumor size. Plurisecretion and sparsely granulated aspect are not related to age and tumor size.