Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C and that of its receptors were assessed in non-small cell lung cancer. Immunohistochemistry revealed positive VEGF-C expression in 38.7% (24/62) of the patients studied. A significant positive correlation was found between VEGF-C in cancer cells and VEGF receptor-3 (VEGFR-3) in vascular endothelial cells, but not between VEGF-C in cancer cells and VEGFR-2 in endothelial cells. In this cohort of lung cancer patients, VEGF-C expression was significantly associated with lymph node metastasis, lymphatic vessel invasion, and worse outcomes after the operation. Although the independent prognostic impact of VEGF-C and VEGFR-3 was not clear, VEGFR-2 expression in endothelial cells retained the independency as the prognostic indicator. In light of these findings, we conclude that VEGF-C plays an important role in lymphatic invasion/metastasis and tumour progression in non-small cell lung cancer.