Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), an endothelial cell mitogen, plays a role in angiogenesis and progression in malignant melanoma. VEGF expression was examined in 62 biopsy specimens of melanocytic proliferations, including 45 malignant melanomas, 3 cellular blue nevi, 12 atypical compound nevi, and 2 Spitz nevi. The cases of malignant melanoma included 11 in situ melanomas, 18 Clark Level II, 9 Clark Level III, and 7 Clark Level IV tissue samples. All of the specimens were fixed in formalin and embedded in paraffin. Cytoplasmic immunoreactivity for VEGF was demonstrated in 19 (42%) of 45 melanoma samples, but there was no immunoreactivity for VEGF exhibited by any of the atypical compound melanocytic nevi, cellular blue nevi, or Spitz nevi (P < .009). Immunoreactivity for VEGF was found to be related to tumor thickness (as evidenced by Clark level [P < .03]) and to absence of regression (P < .04). Although VEGF is not a useful prognostic indicator for malignant melanoma, it may be useful as a discriminating factor between malignant melanoma and benign melanocytic lesions, and it may offer some insight into tumor growth.