Background: Matriptase, a type II transmembrane serine protease1 is involved in angiogenesis, degradation of extracellular matrix, and in the progression of some epithelial cancers. Here, we establish the clinical significance of matriptase and its inhibitor, hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor-1 (HAI-1), during the progression of human prostate cancer (CaP). Methods: The expression patterns of matriptase and HAI-1 were determined in primary cultures of normal human prostate epithelial (NHPE) cells, human CaP cells LNCaP, DU-145, CWR22Rν1, and PC-3, and in tissue samples of 172 patients with normal prostate, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN), and adenocarcinoma of different tumor grades. Results: The protein and mRNA levels of matriptase were significantly higher in all carcinoma cells as compared with NHPE cells. Conversely, all CaP cells exhibited a reduced expression of HAI-1 as compared with NHPE cells. A progressive increase in the protein levels of matriptase was observed with increasing tumor grade in CaP specimens as compared with normal and BPH tissue specimens. Tissue samples of normal prostate exhibited a high constitutive protein level of HAI-1 compared with BPH and low-grade cancer with a progressive loss with increasing tumor grade. Conclusion: The increased expression of matriptase and loss of HAI-1 may be an important event during the progression of CaP in humans. We suggest that the ratio of these two gene products may serve as a promising biomarker for CaP progression and a potential marker for establishing the efficacy of therapeutic and chemopreventive interventions.