We determined whether inhibition of the catalytic tyrosine kinase activity of the receptors for vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular permeability factor (VEGF/VPF) inhibits the formation of malignant ascites and the progressive growth of human ovarian carcinoma cells implanted into the peritoneal cavity of nude mice. The novel protein tyrosine inhibitor PTK 787 was evaluated in two models of human ovarian cancer: Hey-A8 cells, which express low levels of VEGF/VPF and grow as solid tumor foci on the surface of peritoneal organs, and SKOV3 i.p.1 cells, which express high levels of VEGF/VPF and grow as solid peritoneal tumors and ascites. Treatment of nude mice by daily oral administration of 50 mg/kg PTK 787 was not effective against Hey-A8 tumors. In sharp contrast, it significantly inhibited growth of SKOV3 i.p.1 cells and formation of ascites, significantly increasing survival of mice with the implants. Tumor-induced vascular hyperpermeability in the peritoneum of tumor-bearing mice was inhibited by PTK 787, which accounted for its inhibition of ascites formation. Our results suggest that blockade of the VEGF/VPF receptor may be an efficient strategy to inhibit formation of malignant ascites and growth of VEGF/VPF-dependent human ovarian carcinomas.