This study aims to investigate the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) in giant cell tumor of bone (GCT) and other osteolytic lesions in bone. By using semi-quantitative RT-PCR, we showed that three major isoforms of VEGF (121, 165 and 189) were expressed in GCTs, with isoform 121 being the most abundant. The expression levels of VEGF and MMP-9 mRNA were significantly higher in advanced GCTs (stage II/III) than in stage I GCTs. We further elucidated the cellular localization of VEGF and MMP-9 gene transcripts in GCT and other osteolytic lesions using an in situ hybridization assay. The results showed that stromal tumor cells and osteoclast-like giant cells of GCT, fibrous stromal cells in anuerysmal bone cysts and fibrous dysplasia, and Langerhans-type giant cells as well as histocytes in eosinophillic granuloma, were all strongly positive for VEGF and MMP-9 mRNA expression. In a prospective study, we performed VEGF and MMP-9 immuno-staining on paraffin sections of pathological tissues harvested from 48 patients (14 GCT, 10 anuerysmal bone cysts, 10 eosinophillic granuloma, 4 fibrous dysplasia, 2 simple bone cyst, 2 osteomyelitis and 6 patients with fractured femoral head as control). The results showed that the differences in VEGF and MMP-9 expression between Stage I and other advanced Stages (II, III and recurrent) were highly significant (p<0.001), with advanced stages showing a higher mean expression. The difference between recurrent and Stage II and III lesions, was also statistically significant (p=0.03 for VEGF, and p=0.01 for MMP-9 expression), with recurrent lesions showing a higher mean expression of both VEGF and MMP-9. In conclusion, VEGF and MMP-9 expression in osteolytic lesions of bone co-relates well with the extent of bone destruction and local recurrence. Their expression may therefore provide some prognostic indication of the possible aggressive behavior of the underlying pathology.