The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) enhanced by macromolecular contrast agents to monitor noninvasively the therapeutic effect of an anti-angiogenesis VEGF receptor kinase inhibitor in an experimental cancer model. MDA-MB-435, a poorly differentiated human breast cancer cell line, was implanted into the mammary fat pad in 20 female homozygous athymic rats. Animals were assigned randomly to a control (n=10) or drug treatment group (n=10). Baseline dynamic MRI was performed on sequential days using albumin-(GdDTPA)30 (6.0 nm diameter) and ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) particles (~30 nm diameter). Subjects were treated either with PTK787/ZK 222584, a VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, or saline given orally twice daily for 1 week followed by repeat MRI examinations serially using each contrast agent. Employing a unidirectional kinetic model comprising the plasma and interstitial water compartments, tumor microvessel characteristics including fractional plasma volume and transendothelial permeability (KPS) were estimated for each contrast medium. Tumor growth and the microvascular density, a histologic surrogate of angiogenesis, were also measured. Control tumors significantly increased (P<0.05) in size and in microvascular permeability (KPS) based on MRI assays using both macromolecular contrast media. In contrast, tumor growth was significantly reduced (P<0.05) in rats treated with PTK787/ZK 222584 and KPS values declined slightly. Estimated values for the fractional plasma volume did not differ significantly between treatment groups or contrast agents. Microvascular density counts correlated fairly with the tumor growth rate (r=0.64) and were statistically significant higher (P<0.05) in the control than in the drug-treated group. MRI measurements of tumor microvascular response, particularly transendothelial permeability (KPS), using either of two macromolecular contrast media, were able to detect effects of treatment with a VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor on tumor vascular permeability. In a clinical setting such quantitative MRI measurements could be used to monitor tumor anti-angiogenesis therapy.