PDGF-B released from colon tumor cells regulated tumor growth in athymic mice in a paracrine manner by inducing blood vessel formation. A positive correlation was found between expression of PDGF B-chain in cells grown in vitro and the number of factor VIII-positive blood vessels in tumors induced by three classes of colon carcinoma cell lines. Elevated expression of PDGF-B was also correlated with tumor size. Each cell line had the same mutations in the colon cancer genes APC, DCC, and p53 and had wild type c-K-ras genes (Huang et al.  Oncogene, 9:3701-3706.) eliminating the possibility that any differences in tumor blood vessel formation were due to mutations and/or deletions in these genes. Colon carcinoma cells released biologically active PDGF capable of stimulating the growth of NIH3T3 cells, which was inhibited by neutralizing antisera to PDGF-AB chains. An inverse correlation was found between induction of factor VIII-positive blood vessels and expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), while no correlation was seen with expression of either TGF alpha or k-FGF. Basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF) expression was not detected in these tumor cells. TGF beta 1 was capable of inducing PDGF-B expression in the undifferentiated U9 colon carcinoma cell line, but this sensitivity was not seen in differentiated cells. In contrast, TGF beta 1 inhibited VEGF expression in both undifferentiated cells and differentiated colon cancer cells. Thus, TGF beta 1 has two roles in the growth of undifferentiated U9 colon carcinoma cells in vivo: direct stimulation of cell proliferation as we have showed in earlier studies, and an increase in angiogenesis by inducing PDGF-B.