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This study was to evaluate the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFRs) in tumor and stromal cells of tougue squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). We also wanted to characterize the differences, from the angiogenic aspect, between cancer-associated stromal cells and non-malignant stromal cells. Paraffin-embedded tumor specimens from eleven patients with tongue SCCs were studied. Immunohistochemical staining for VEGFR-1,-2, and -3 was performed on the tumor cells, stromal fibroblasts and tumor-associated macrophages of the specimens. The expression of all 3 receptors was detected in the tumor cells themselves of the biopsy specimens. All 3 receptors were also expressed on stromal cells, except that VEGFR-2 was not expressed in stromal fibroblasts. In radical excision specimens, the staining intensity for VEGFR-1, -2 in the tumor cells and VEGFR-1,-3 in the tumor-associated macrophages was significantly lower than that in the biopsy specimens (P < 0.05). By using the general marker of fibroblast and macrophage, 5B5 and CD68, respectively, we performed double immunofluorescence staining for 5B5 and each VEGFR in the stromal fibroblasts and for CD68 and each VEGFR in the tumor-associated macrophages of the radical excision specimens. We used 4 cases of fibroma and 4 cases of chronic inflammation tissue as the controls. It was found that only each marker was expressed in the control group, however, 5B5/VEGFR-1 and 5B5/VEGFR-3 in the stromal fibroblasts, and CD68/VEGFR-1 and CD68/VEGFR-3 in the tumor-associated macrophages were double stained in the radical excision specimens. Although our study used small number of specimens, the results of our study showed that in tongue SCC, in association with the angiogenesis, the stromal cells showed the activated phenotype and this was different from the nonmalignant stromal cells.