The present study was designed to investigate the effect of leptin on estrogen metabolism in prostatic cells. Malignant (PC-3) and benign (BPH-1) human prostate cells were treated with 17-β-hydroxyestradiol (1 μM) alone or in combination with leptin (0.4, 4, 40 ng/ml) for 72 h. Cell proliferation assay, immunocytochemical staining of estrogen receptor (ER), liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method (LC-MS) and semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were used. Cell proliferation assay demonstrated that leptin caused significant growth potentiation in both cells. Immunocytochemical staining showed that leptin significantly increased the expression of ER-α and decreased that of ER-β in PC-3 cells. LC-MS method revealed that leptin increased the concentration 4-hydroxyestrone and/or decreased that of 2-methoxyestradiol, 4-methoxyestradiol and 2-methoxyestrone. Interestingly, RT-PCR showed that leptin significantly up-regulated the expression of aromatase and cytochrome P450 1B1 (CYP1B1) enzymes; however down-regulated the expression of catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT) enzyme. These data indicate that leptin-induced proliferative effect in prostate cells might be partly attributed to estrogen metabolism. Thus, leptin might be a novel target for therapeutic intervention in prostatic disorders.