Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) was originally identified as a constituent of blood serum and subsequently purified from human platelets. PDGF ligand is a dimeric molecule consisting of two disulfide-bonded chains from A-, B-, C- and D-polypeptide chains, which combine to homo- and heterodimers. The PDGF isoforms exert their cellular effects by binding to and activating two structurally related protein tyrosine kinase receptors. PDGF is a potent mitogen and chemoattractant for mesenchymal cells and also a chemoattractant for neutrophils and monocytes. In radiation oncology, PDGF are important for several pathologic processes, including oncogenesis, angiogenesis and fibrogenesis. Autocrine activation of PDGF was observed and interpreted as an important mechanism involved in brain and other tumors. PDGF has been shown to be fundamental for the stability of normal blood vessel formation, and may be essential for the angiogenesis in tumor tissue. PDGF also plays an important role in the proliferative disease, such as atherosclerosis and radiation-induced fibrosis, regarding its proliferative stimulation of fibroblast cells. Moreover, PDGF was also shown to stimulate production of extracellular matrix proteins, which are mainly responsible for the irreversibility of these diseases. This review introduces the structural and functional properties of PDGF and PDGF receptors and discusses the role and mechanism of PDGF signaling in normal and tumor tissues under different conditions in radiation oncology.