Therapeutic efficacy of a synthetic somatostatin analogue for the treatment of carcinoid tumors is still controversial. In vivo studies performed in our laboratory showed that a somatostatin analogue, SMS 201-995, significantly inhibited growth of human pancreatic carcinoid (BON) tumors xenotransplanted into athymic nude mice. In the present study, however, SMS 201-995 did not inhibit in vitro growth of BON cells, but rather SMS 201-995 stimulated growth in a dose-dependent fashion. The growth-stimulatory effect was likely mediated through the reduction of cyclic AMP production. Unsuccessful treatment of certain types of carcinoid tumor with SMS 201-995 may be partly due to the direct growth-stimulatory effect of SMS 201-995 on carcinoid cells.