Tumour progression is dependent on the formation of new vessels in tumour tissue. Tumour cells produce a variety of factors that influence vessel growth and maintenance both in tumour and tumour-adjacent tissues. Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1), angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) and their tyrosine kinase receptor Tie-2 have been shown to play an important role in the processes of growth and remodelling of normal as well as tumour vessels. We studied gene expression of the angiogenic factors Ang-1 and Ang-2 and of their tyrosine kinase receptor Tie-2 in the tumour and non-tumour tissues of mice bearing the experimental melanoma B16. Using semiquantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and real-time PCR we measured Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 mRNA levels in the tumour, bone marrow, liver and spleen. Melanoma tissue overexpressed Ang-2 mRNA compared with spleen, liver and bone marrow of normal mice, suggesting its role during melanoma progression. On the other hand, there was a significant decrease in Ang-2 mRNA level in bone marrow cells collected on days 5 and 10 of tumour growth compared with the expression of Ang-2 mRNA in the bone marrow of normal mice and those collected on days 15 and 20 of tumour growth. These data demonstrate, for the first time, an ectopic effect of the tumour on the gene coding for an angiogenic factor, and also suggest that tumour growth may influence angiogenesis and/or vasculogenesis in distant organs.