The aim of this study is to reveal the influence of methoxypolyethyleneglycol (MePEG) molecular weight and particle size of stealth nanoparticles on their in vivo tumor targeting properties. Three sizes (80, 170 and 240nm) of poly methoxypolyethyleneglycol cyanoacrylate-co-n-hexadecyl cyanoacrylate (PEG-PHDCA) nanoparticles loading recombinant human tumor necrosis factor-alpha (rHuTNF-alpha) were prepared at different MePEG molecular weights (MW=2000, 5000 and 10,000) using double emulsion method. The opsonization in mouse serum was evaluated by Coomassie brilliant blue staining of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Phagocytosis was evaluated by incubating (125)I-rHuTNF-alpha-loaded nanoparticles with mouse macrophages (RAW264.7). The pharmacokinetics, biodistribution and tumor targeting studies were performed in S-180 tumor-bearing mice. Higher MePEG molecular weight provided thicker fixed aqueous layer thickness (FALT) and smaller particle size offered higher surface MePEG density. The serum protein adsorption and phagocytic uptake were markedly decreased for the nanoparticles with higher MePEG molecular weight or smaller size. The particles (80nm) made of PEG(5000)-PHDCA, possessing a thicker FALT (5.16nm) and a shortest distance (0.87nm) between two neighboring MePEG chains, showed the strongest capacity of decreasing protein adsorption and phagocytic uptake. These particles extended the half-life of rHuTNF-alpha in S-180 tumor-bearing mice by 24-fold (from 28.2 min to 11.33 h), elevated the rHuTNF-alpha peak concentration in S-180 tumors by 2.85-fold and increased the area under the intratumoral rHuTNF-alpha concentration curve by 7.44-fold. The results of the present study showed PEG-PHDCA nanoparticles with higher MePEG molecular weight and smaller particle size could achieve higher in vivo tumor targeting efficiency.