OBJECTIVE The authors' objective was to quantitatively assess angiogenesis or neovascularity within node-negative colon cancers and to determine if increased angiogenesis correlated with higher recurrence and lower survival rates. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA Neovascularization promotes rapid tumor growth by facilitating nutrient and metabolite exchange. Recent work with breast and nonsmall cell lung cancers has shown that low angiogenic activity imparts a lower risk of recurrence and metastasis. Although adjuvant therapy is beneficial for patients with node-positive colon cancers, no such benefit has been demonstrated for patients with node-negative lesions. Nevertheless, up to 30% of this latter group will experience recurrence. We sought to identify a subset of patients with node-negative colon cancers at high risk for recurrence who might benefit from such therapy. METHODS One hundred five node-negative colon cancers were immunostained for endothelial cell factor VIII-related antigen. Blood vessels within three microscopic fields at 100X magnification were counted, the mean calculated, and an angiogenesis score assigned. A subjective angiogenesis grade (1-4) was assigned after each slide was surveyed in its entirety. Score and grade were then assessed with respect to cancer recurrence and patient survival. RESULTS Mean patient age was 71 years (range, 41-90 years) and mean tumor size, 5.6 cm (range, 2-12 cm). Mean follow-up was 6.5 years; mean angiogenesis score, 27.9 (range, 4-50); and mean grade, 2.0 (range, 1-4). Patients living 5 years had significantly lower angiogenesis scores than did nonsurvivors (22.8 vs. 43.2, p = 0.0004). Each 10-vessel increase in score imparted a 2.0-fold greater hazard of death and a 2.7-fold greater hazard of recurrence. The probability of surviving 5 years is estimated by: [formula: see text] and the probability of recurrence is estimated by: [formula: see text] CONCLUSIONS Angiogenesis within colon cancer is an important predictor of tumor behavior and may identify patients at higher risk for recurrence and early death.