Angiogenesis is essential for growth and metastasis of solid malignancies. In several tumours, tumour vessel count and expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a potent angiogenic factor, have been associated with prognosis. To determine if vessel count and VEGF expression are prognostic factors in pancreatic cancer, we examined these parameters in resected tumour specimens from 22 patients who did not receive pre-operative therapy. Paraffin-embedded tumour specimens were immunohistochemically stained for factor VIII (surrogate for vessels) and VEGF. Vessel counts and VEGF expression were evaluated without knowledge of patient outcome. The median follow-up for the entire group had not been reached as of 23.1 months (range 10-69 months). The mean vessel count and VEGF expression were no different between those patients who had recurrences and those who did not. By linear regression analysis, the correlation of VEGF expression with vessel count did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.0685). Survival and time to recurrence were similar in patients with high and low vessel counts and VEGF expression of 1, 2 or 3. Tumour differentiation or lymph node positivity had no effect on either VEGF expression or vessel count. Our data suggest that, in contrast to findings in other solid malignancies, vessel count and VEGF expression are not predictors of survival or recurrence in patients with resectable adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.