To investigate the role of cyclooxygenase-2(COX-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the development of gastric carcinoma and correlation between expression of COX-2 and VEGF and clinicopathologic features in tissues from patients with gastric carcinoma.281 patients with gastric carcinoma who underwent surgical resection between 1990 and 1999 at the First Affiliated Hospital, Anhui Medical University, PRC, were followed up. Expression of COX-2 and VEGF was investigated retrospectively in 232 gastric carcinoma tissues and 60 noncancerous specimens by using immunohistochemistry.The 5-year survival rates of early gastric carcinoma (EGC) and advanced gastric carcinoma (AGC) were 93.4 % and 59.0 %, respectively. Survival time was highly correlated with lymph node metastasis, vascular invasion, depth of invasion and treatment with chemotherapy. Compared with paired noncancerous tissues, expression of COX-2 and VEGF and microvessel density (MVD) value in carcinoma tissue were significantly higher. The MVD value was much higher in COX-2-positive group and VEGF-positive group than that in COX-2-negative group and VEGF-negative group. Expression of COX-2 and VEGF, as well as MVD value were highly correlated with lymph node metastasis and vascular invasion. The 5-year survival rate of patients with expression of COX-2 or VEGF was significantly lower than that of patients without COX-2 or VEGF expression. Multivariate analysis revealed that VEGF overexpression, lymph node metastasis, COX-2 overexpression, depth of invasion and vascular invasion were all independent prognostic factors of gastric carcinoma.Overexpression of COX-2 and VEGF in patients with gastric carcinoma can enhance the possibility of invasion and metastasis, implicating a poor prognosis. They may serve as the fairly good prognostic factors to indicate biologic behaviors of gastric carcinoma.