Kaposi's sarcoma is a vascular tumor commonly associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 and human herpesvirus (HHV-8) also known as Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. The principal features of this tumor are abnormal proliferation of vascular structures lined with spindle-shaped endothelial cells. HHV-8 may transform a subpopulation of endothelial cells in vitro via viral and cellular gene expression. We hypothesized that among the cellular genes, vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) and their cognate receptors may be involved in viral-mediated transformation. We have shown that HHV-8-transformed endothelial cells (EC-HHV-8) express higher levels of VEGF, VEGF-C, VEGF-D, and PlGF in addition to VEGF receptors-1, -2, and -3. Furthermore, antibodies to VEGF receptor-2 inhibited cell proliferation and viability. Similarly, inhibition of VEGF gene expression with antisense oligonucleotides inhibited EC-HHV-8 cell proliferation/viability. The growth and viability of primary endothelial cells and a fibroblast cell line however were unaffected by either the VEGF receptor-2 antibody or the VEGF antisense oligodeoxynucleotides. VEGF and VEGF receptors are thus induced in EC-HHV-8 and participate in the transformation. Inhibitors of VEGF may thus modulate the disease process during development and progression.