Binding of a growth factor (GF) to its specific receptor on the cell surface causes the initiation of a signal transduction cascade which eventually results in mitosis. GF:receptor complexes are removed from the cell surface via receptor-mediated endocytosis, a process which involves clathrin-coated pits. After internalization into the endosomal compartment, a significant pool of GFs and GF receptors escape recycling to the cell surface and are sorted to the degradation pathway. The ligand-induced internalization and lysosomal degradation of GF receptors result in the dramatic loss of surface receptors, a phenomenon termed receptor down-regulation. In this review, we discuss relevant biochemical, morphological and kinetic studies of the mechanism of GF endocytosis, and the possible role of this process in mitogenic signaling by growth factor receptors.