BACKGROUND: Tumor angiogenesis plays an important role in tumor growth, maintenance and metastatic potential. Tumor tissue produces many types of angiogenic growth factors. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) have both been implicated to have roles in tumor angiogenesis. In this study, the expression of tissue VEGF and bFGF from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients were analyzed. METHODS: We retrospectively investigated 35 patients with a histologically confirmed adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, where the primary curative approach was surgery. An ELISA was employed to determine the expression of VEGF and bFGF in extracts prepared from 35 frozen tissue samples taken from the cancer patients. RESULTS: VEGF and bFGF concentrations were significantly increased in lung cancer tissue as compared with control (non-cancerous) tissue. The VEGF concentration was significantly increased in T2 and T3 cancers as compared with T1 cancer. Expression of VEGF was increased in node-positive lung cancer tissue as compared with node-negative lung cancer tissue (p=0.06). VEGF and bFGF expression were not directly related to the stage of lung cancer and patient survival. CONCLUSION: Expression of VEGF and bFGF were increased in lung cancer tissue, and the expression of VEGF concentration in lung cancer tissue was more likely related with tumor size and the presence of a lymph node metastasis than the expression of bFGF. However, in this study, expression of both VEGF and bFGF in tissue were not associated with patient prognosis.