The aim of this study was to raise and characterize a monoclonal antibody reactive with VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) in routinely fixed specimens and to use it to investigate its tissue distribution in normal and pathological specimens. Recombinant VEGF 189 protein was used to raise a monoclonal antibody. The specificity of the antibody was confirmed using COS cells transfected with cDNA coding for VEGF 121, 165 and 189 protein and by western blotting studies. The resulting antibody VG1 was shown to react with the 121, 165 and 189 isoforms of VEGF protein in routinely processed material. In normal tissues, there was strong staining of endometrial and salivary glands and of the mucosa of the gastro-intestinal tract. In tumours, a proportion of the neoplastic cells in lung and breast cancer and in melanoma were labelled. In all tissues, whether normal or malignant, striking VEGF positivity was seen in plasma in vessels and stroma. This study has shown that antibody VG1 detects the 121, 165 and 189 VEGF isoforms in routinely fixed specimens. The results of the normal tissue and tumour labelling are in agreement with other studies using alternative methods of detection. This should be a useful and reliable reagent for studies of VEGF and angiogenesis in human pathological material.