Peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) are synthetic structural analogues of DNA and RNA that, if allowed to enter the cell, bind to the complementary polynucleotide sequence and inhibit DNA transcription and mRNA translation. Although PNAs have a very limited ability in penetrating nuclei of living cells, there are indications that covalent linkage of the PNA to appropriate vectors, e.g., a nuclear localization signal, permits access to the genome. Here we test the ability of dihydrotestosterone (T) covalently linked to PNA to act as a vector for targeting c-myc DNA to prostatic cancer cell nuclei. LNCaP cells, which express the androgen receptor gene, and DU145 cells, in which the androgen receptor gene is silent, offer a model to test this biologically active hormone as a cell-specific vector. T vector was covalently linked to the NH_2-terminal position of a PNA complementary to a unique sequence of c-myc oncogene(PNAmyc-T). To localize PNAmyc-T and vector-free PNA within the cells, a rhodamine (R) group was attached at the COOH-terminal position (PNAmyc-R, PNAmyc-TR); cellular uptake was monitored by confocal fluorescence microscopy. PNAmyc-R was detected only in the cytoplasm of both prostatic cell lines, whereas PNAmyc-TRwas localized in nuclei as well as in cytoplasm of LNCaP cells. In contrast, PNAmyc-TR uptake in DU145 cells was minimal and exclusively cytoplasmic. In LNCaP cells, MYC protein remained unchanged by exposure to vector-free PNAmyc, whereas a significant and persistent decrease was induced by PNAmyc-T. In DU145 cells, MYC expression was unaltered by PNAmyc with or without the T vector. Our data show that theT vector facilitates cell-selective nuclear localization of PNA and its consequent inhibition of c-myc expression. These findings suggest a strategy for targeting of cell-specific anti-gene therapy in prostatic carcinoma.