BACKGROUND: In order to evaluate the clinical relevance of angiogenesis in patients with gastric cancer, we investigated the microvessel count in gastric cancer tissues and compared the results with several clinicopathologic factors and the prognosis for the same stage. METHODS: A total of 256 patients with gastric cancer were included in this study. The microvessel count was determined by using immunohistochemical staining monoclonal antibody against factor- VIII-related antigen. RESULTS: The microvessel density determined by using immunohistochemical staining for factor-VIII- related antigen had statistical significance with survival between the higher (> or =42: microvessel counts) and lower the (<42: microvessel counts) groups. However in the same stage, except stage I, it had not significant correlation with survival. CONCLUSION: The tumor angiogenesis of a gastric carcinoma in stage I is an independent factor that impacts on the prognosis.