BACKGROUND: Interleukin-8 (IL-8) is upregulated in fibrotic and malignant diseases and is a key mediator of proliferative responses. Elevated IL-8 was recently correlated with benign prostatic hyperplasia epithelium and a myofibroblast reactive stroma. Thus, we sought to determine whether overexpressed IL-8 and keratinocyte-derived chemokine (KC), the functional murine homolog of IL-8, induce prostate epithelial hyperplasia and a reactive phenotype. METHODS: Transgenic mice that overexpress KC within prostate epithelia and xenograft models with engineered human cells that overexpress IL-8 were developed. RESULTS: Overexpression of KC in transgenic mice produced hyperplastic prostate epithelial acini associated with a periacinar reactive stroma. KC induced an altered epithelial/stroma proliferation index ratio, increased acini diameter, epithelial infolding, and expression of prototypical reactive stroma markers. Overexpression of IL-8 in normal human prostate epithelial xenografts correlated with elevated epithelial proliferation index and altered morphology. Elevated human prostate stromal and epithelial cell proliferation, nodule-like morphology and increased xenograft survival were observed in IL-8-overexpressing orthotopic xenografts. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these data demonstrate that overexpression of IL-8/KC results in a prostate epithelial hyperplasia with an associated reactive stroma phenotype. The novel transgenic mouse and human xenograft models described here may be useful in dissecting key mechanisms of IL-8 induced prostate hyperplasia and reactive stroma.