Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a key role in tumor angiogenesis, and blockade of VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR-2), with the monoclonal antibody DC101, inhibits angiogenesis and tumor growth. To examine the short-term effects of DC101, we surface transplanted the squamous cell carcinoma cell line A5-RT3 onto nude mice. After short-term treatment with DC101, we observed rapid reduction in vascularization and reversion of the tumor phenotype. Beginning 24 hours after treatment, VEGFR-2 inhibition resulted in decreased vessel density within the tenascin-c-staining tumor-associated stroma and reduced endothelial cell proliferation. Stromal expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 and -13 was drastically reduced 96 hours after VEGFR-2 inhibition as detected by in situ hybridization and in situ zymography. Moreover, the morphology of the tumor-stroma border changed from a highly invasive carcinoma to a well-demarcated, premalignant phenotype. The latter was characterized by the appearance of a regular basement membrane in immunostaining and ultrastructural analyses. These findings suggest that VEGFR-2 inhibition by DC101 evokes very rapid reduction of preformed vessels and decreases both stromal protease expression and gelatinolytic activity, resulting in the modulation of the tumor-stroma border zone and reversion of the tumor phenotype. Thus, short-term inhibition of VEGF signaling results in complex stromal alterations with crucial consequences for the tumor phenotype.