Platelet derived growth factor is involved in the autocrine growth stimulation of malignant cells, the stimulation of angiogenesis and the recruitment and regulation of tumor fibroblasts. PDGF has been shown to physically interact with glycosaminoglycans which are abundant in the fibrosarcoma cell microenvironment. Aim of the present study was to examine the effects of glycosaminoglycans on the mitogenic function of platelet derived growth factor in two human fibrosarcoma cell lines (B6FS, HT1080). For this purpose exogenously added glycosaminoglycans, regulators of endogenous glycosaminoglycan synthesis (sodium chlorate as selective inhibitor and beta-D-xyloside as a stimulator) and specific glycosidases to cleave cell-associated glycosaminoglycans, were utilized. Platelet derived growth factor demonstrated a growth stimulating effect on B6FS, whereas no effect was evident on HT1080 fibrosarcoma cells. Beta-D-xyloside had no effect on the basal level or the platelet derived growth factor-induced cell proliferation, whereas sodium chlorate severely reduced the basal level of proliferation in both cell lines. Significant co-stimulatory effects of chondroitin sulfate A in combination with platelet derived growth factor BB on the growth of HT1080 and B6FS cells were found. The co-stimulatory effect of chondroitin sulfate A was not due to transcriptional up regulation of platelet derived growth factor receptors genes, but rather to more efficient signalling of tyrosine kinase receptors. In conclusion, this study shows that chondroitin sulfate A can enhance the mitogenic activity of platelet-derived growth factor in fibrosarcoma cells utilizing a pathway which involves tyrosine kinases. This result introduces a new modulating role for chondroitin sulfate in signalling pathways critical for cancer growth.