The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between vascular and metabolic characteristics of breast tumours in vivo, using contrast-enhanced dynamic MRI and 2-[(18)F] fluoro-2-deoxy- d-glucose (FDG) PET imaging. Twenty patients with large or locally advanced primary breast cancers were imaged prior to therapy. MRI data were acquired using a dynamic gradient echo sequence and analysed using two pharmacokinetic models. Static PET data were acquired in 2D mode. A significant association ( P<0.05) was observed between the calculated exchange rate constants of both pharmacokinetic models and calculated PET FDG dose uptake ratios (DUR). Statistical analysis showed that the exchange rate constants can explain between 27 and 44% of the variance observed in the PET FDG uptake ratios. A relationship was demonstrated between the vascular and metabolic characteristics of primary breast tumours showing that any assessment of tumour metabolic activity using PET may be controlled at least in part by delivery of uptake agent due to the vascular characteristics of the tumour. MRI and PET provide methods of assessing breast tumour vascularity and metabolism in vivo using the exchange rate constants of dynamic MRI, and DUR of PET, respectively, these measures being related but not equivalent.