It has been postulated that the rapid enhancement demonstrated by breast carcinomas after administration of contrast media is a direct result of tumor angiogenesis. However, to date, little quantitative data have been published to support this view. A retrospective study has been undertaken to compare dynamic contrast-enhanced data obtained from 40 patients with microvessel density (MVD) evaluated in specimens immunohistochemically stained with a factor VIII related antigen. The dynamic data were analyzed quantitatively using both simple indices of enhancement and a two-compartment kinetic model. A moderate but significant correlation was demonstrated between initial enhancement and MVD, and this correlation strengthened when node-positive tumors were considered in isolation (r = .77, P < .0005). However, the data showed considerable variability. The enhancement characteristics of the tumors could not be explained solely by their MVD; therefore, MRI cannot be used to predict MVD in vivo. Further work is required to address the exact relationship between contrast-enhanced MRI and tumor angiogenesis.