The central depressed area thickness (tumor thickness) of colorectal cancers is an important prognostic parameter for colorectal cancer patients. We examined whether the proliferative activities of tumor and stromal components play important roles in the increase of tumor thickness and the progression of colorectal cancers. Colorectal cancers were classified into thin and thick groups according to tumor thickness. The proliferative activities of fibroblasts and endothelial cells were immunohistochemically evaluated in 157 T3 ulcerative-type colorectal cancers by CD31/MIB-1 (anti-Ki-67 antigen) double staining. The MIB-1 labeling index was estimated as the percentage of fibroblasts with positive nuclei. The CD31-positive microvessels lined by MIB-1-positive endothelial cells were assessed. The proliferative microvessel index was defined as the percentage of proliferative microvessels relative to all microvessels. The fibroblast MIB-1 labeling index was the only parameter significantly associated with tumor thickness ( P=0.049). High fibroblast MIB-1 labeling indices showed significant correlation with tumor recurrence in the thin group ( P=0.020). High proliferative microvessel index was a significant parameter of tumor recurrence in the thick group ( P=0.003) in multivariate analyses. This study strongly suggests that proliferative activities of stromal components are useful parameters of tumor biology and of prognosis for T3 ulcerative-type colorectal cancer patients.