Malignant melanoma is a disease capable of rapid progression and rapidly developing metastases. Angiogenesis is a key event signalling tumour progression and elevated levels of angiogenic markers may indicate metastatic disease. No previously published work has, so far, examined plasma vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptor, VEGFR-1, in melanoma. This study investigated circulating levels of the angiogenic factors, VEGF-A and -D, their receptors 1-3 and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/scatter factor, in patients shortly after primary surgery for localized malignant melanoma. Elevated circulating levels of VEGF and its receptors, and of HGF, were found postoperatively, possibly derived from the reactive stroma adjacent to the tumours. Using univariate analysis, a correlation between levels of VEGFR-1 and relapse was found, but a correlation between the investigated angiogenic factors and survival could not be established. The results of the present study indicate that production of these angiogenic factors may be due to sources other than malignant melanoma cells.