Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression was examined by immunohistochemistry in 45 prostatic carcinoma specimens and ten benign prostatic tumours (BPH). The majority of carcinoma specimens exhibited cytoplasmic staining for VEGF and showed a trend of increasing expression with dedifferentiation (2p = 0.003). Immunoreactive VEGF was also seen in the prostatic carcinoma cell lines, the order of staining intensity was PC3 > DU145 > LNCaP. Intense granular cytoplasmic staining for VEGF was observed in neuroendocrine-like cells which were seen focally in many of the prostatic specimens. Consecutive sections were incubated with a chromogranin A antibody to confirm the neuroendocrine phenotype of these cells. A significant correlation (P < 0.0001) between the total number of intensely stained VEGF-positive cells and chromogranin A-positive cells was found. A subpopulation of neuroendocrine-like cells also showed intense immunoreactivity for transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha). A correlation was observed (2p = 0.0092) between the intensity of VEGF and TGF-alpha immunostaining in carcinoma cells which were not of neuroendocrine differentiation. The presence of these two angiogenic factors may aid the neovascularisation of carcinomas and their increased expression in tumour-associated neuroendocrine cells may contribute to a more aggressive phenotype.