In myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), ineffective hematopoiesis and cytopenia may arise either from increased susceptibility to apoptosis of hematopoietic cells, or possibly from alterations of bone marrow stroma that contributes to defective development of marrow lineages. In order to test the significance of the endothelial growth in MDS patients, two in vitro assays are presented in this study: a long-term culture method for the detection of human bone marrow endothelial colonies (CFU-En) (77 patients) and a human primary model for the evaluation of the influence of a "bone marrow conditioned medium" on the formation of new vessels in a culture matrix ("angio-kit assay") (in 24 out 77 patients). The in vitro growth pattern of bone marrow CFU-En as well as the generation of microvessels in the angio-kit system was increased in RA, RARS and RAEB in comparison with controls. No CFU-En were detected in RAEB-T. The occurrence of large islands, formed by clusters of endothelial cells, unable to generate microcapillaries was also reported. Chromosomal abnormalities did not correlate with the angiogenetic pattern. These in vitro assays may constitute an useful approach to the analysis of angiogenesis in MDS.