Blood transfusions are associated with recurrence of solid cancers. Angiogenesis is essential for cancer growth. Our aim was to determine for the first time in a prospective cohort study the effect of prestorage allogeneic leucodepleted SAGM (saline, adenine, glucose, mannitol) red cell transfusion on angiogenic factor levels and in vitro angiogenesis. Forty pretransfusion adult hospital inpatients were selected consecutively. Serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and endostatin were measured in each patient before and after prestorage allogeneic leucodepleted SAGM red cell transfusion. All samples were exposed to an in vitro endothelial cell proliferation assay and 10 sample groups were also exposed to an in vitro whole angiogenesis assay. The median number of units transfused was 2 (minimum-maximum, 2-4). Twenty-nine (73%) patients had a rise in VEGF, with an overall increase of 118 pg/ml (quartiles -5, 306; P < 0.01). Twenty-eight (70%) patients had a decrease in endostatin, with an overall reduction of 1.2 ng/ml (quartiles 4.0, 0.0; P = 0.017). There was an overall 33% increase in endothelial cell proliferation (P < 0.01) and a 9.4% increase in in vitro whole assay angiogenesis (P < 0.01). Prestorage allogeneic leucodepleted SAGM red cell transfusions are associated with a favourable angiogenic factor imbalance and an elevation in in vitro angiogenesis.