In previous studies GnRH-III, a variant of the hypothalamic neurohormone GnRH, was isolated from the brain of the sea lamprey and structurally characterized. GnRH-III is a hypothalamic neurohormone in both female and male sea lampreys. In the present work biological activities of GnRH-III in mammalian systems were examined. In superfused rat pituitary cells, GnRH-III at 1 nM to 100 nM neither induced LH-secretion nor inhibited the LH-secretion elicited by native GnRH and elicited LH release only at 1 µM. At high dose (500 µg/day) in vivo, GnRH-III behaved as a GnRH agonist, though, it was 1000-fold less active than ovurelin. The in vitro and in vivo results were in good agreement in showing that GnRH-III is only a weak agonist of the endocrine activity of GnRH. GnRH-III specifically bound to receptors on cancer cells and recognized not only the high-, but also the low-affinity binding sites. GnRH-III significantly suppressed growth of human cancer cells which have GnRH receptors. The inhibitory effect of GnRH-III on growth of cancer cells was specific and direct since the peptide did not have endocrine activity in the concentration range found to be effective in anticancer assays. GnRH-III inhibited equally the growth of ER-positive and -negative breast and TeR-positive and -negative prostate cells.