Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been shown to be the major mediator of physiologic and pathologic angiogenesis. VEGF was initially thought to be an endothelial cell specific ligand, but recently, VEGF has been shown to mediate tumor cell function via activation of receptors on tumor cells themselves. Here, we review the expression patterns and binding profiles of the VEGF receptors and their ligands on gastrointestinal tumor cells. Furthermore, we describe the current knowledge in regards to the function of these receptors on tumor cells. Elucidating the function of VEGF receptors on tumor cells should help us to better understand the potential mechanisms of action of anti-VEGF therapies. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.