Human endothelial cells obtained from postpartum umbilical veins and placed in primary tissue cultures were treated with media from cultures of human and experimental central nervous system tumors. Endothelial proliferation was determined by the uptake of 3H thymidine with autoradiography and represented as the thymidine labeling index (TI), which is the proportion of 3H thymidine-labeled endothelial cells to total number of cells counted. There was a marked increase in the TI when tumor-conditioned medium was added to endothelial cultures (range 28.7% to 98.3%) when compared to controls (2.1%) and endothelium with conditioned media from fibroblasts (4.5%). This study demonstrates the presence of a chemical substance produced by tumor cells which results in endothelial proliferation. The system described provides a useful assay technique for the further characterization of this endothelial growth factor.