Lung tumours in the elderly show reduced growth potential; impaired angiogenesis may contribute to this phenomenon. Recent studies have suggested that the angiogenic potential of a tumour may be inferred by the vascularity measured in histological sections. The purpose of this study has been to determine whether vascularity is related to age, survival or other clinical parameters in resected non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). A group of 88 consecutive patients with a follow-up period of at least 5 years was selected. The group exhibited a wide age range (37-78 years) and similar survival characteristics to those of the general NSCLC population. Tumour sections were stained with a pan-endothelial antibody (vWF) and vascularity was quantitated, without knowledge of the clinical details, by three methods: highest microvascular density; average microvascular density; and average microvascular volume. The results were analysed by non-parametric statistical tests. A correlation was found between all three methods of quantitation. Vascularity was not associated with age, sex, tumour type, stage, volume, size (TNM-T) nodal status (TNM-N) or survival. However, survival time was generally longer for patients with higher vascularity, reaching borderline significance (P = 0.06) for the average microvascular density values. Higher tumour volume (P = 0.02) and stage (P = 0.05) were associated with lower survival times. Using multivariate survival analysis, tumour volume was the only factor related to survival. We conclude that vascularity is not associated with age and has no significant prognostic value in NSCLC.