In vitro studies suggest that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) induces angiogenesis by stimulating angiogenic growth factors while inhibiting apoptosis in cancer cell lines. A series of 107 gastric adenocarcinoma cases that had undergone gastrectomy was studied to determine the correlation between COX-2 expression, angiogenesis, and apoptosis in human gastric cancer tissue. COX-2, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), and Bcl-2 were stained by single and dual immunoassaying methods. Microvessel density was determined by immunostaining for CD34. Apoptosis was evaluated with the TUNEL assay. COX-2 expression was positive exclusively in cancer cells in 46 cases (43%). COX-2 expression significantly correlated with VEGF and PDGF expression. Dual staining for COX-2 and VEGF showed that colocalization of these proteins was most frequent at the advancing edge of cancer cells. Microvessel density was higher in COX-2-and VEGF-positive cases than in COX-2- and VEGF-negative cases. In addition, COX-2 expression correlated with Bcl-2 expression. The apoptotic index was lower in COX-2-positive cancer cells than in COX-2-negative cases. Multivariate analysis revealed that coexpression of COX-2 and VEGF, age, lymph node status, and serosal invasion were independent prognostic factors for overall survival in gastric cancer patients. Therefore, these data suggest that COX-2 contributes to gastric cancer development by promoting angiogenesis and inhibiting apoptosis.