Both vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C and (VEGF)-D are ligands of VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-3 (Flt-4) and VEGFR-2 (KDR/FLK-1) and are supposed to participate in lymphangiogenesis. The purpose of this study was to clarify the clinical significance of the expression of these factors and to evaluate their relationship with prognosis in patients with gastric carcinoma. Fifty pairs of normal mucosa and cancer specimens were obtained from patients who had undergone gastrectomy for primary gastric carcinoma and subjected to reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction for VEGF-C, VEGF-D, and VEGFR-3. Both VEGF-C and VEGF-D mRNA expression significantly correlated with lymphatic invasion (P < 0.05). Although VEGF-C and -D were concomitantly expressed in most cases, only VEGF-C expression was related to lymph node metastasis. VEGFR-3 expression was associated both with VEGF-C and VEGF-D expression, but not with lymph node metastasis. Tumors expressing these mRNAs tended to correlate with poorer prognosis, but the relationships were not statistically significant. Our study suggests that both VEGF-C and VEGF-D are involved in lymphatic spreading of gastric cancer cells, which is clinically useful for the evaluation of lymphatic invasion in patients with gastric carcinoma.