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ABSTRACT: To investigate the relationship between angiogenesis, apoptosis and cell proliferation in invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast and their relation to tumor behavior. Microvessels were immunohistochemically labeled with antibody to CD34 in sections from 82 cases of invasive ductal carcinoma. Computerized image analysis was used to evaluate microvessel density (MVD). The authors measured the apoptotic index (AI) using the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling technique and proliferating cell nuclear antigen labeling index (PCNA LI) by PCNA immunohistochemistry on serial sections. Statistical analysis revealed a significant inverse correlation between MVD and AI (r = -.313, P = .004) and failed to find a significant correlation between MVD and PCNA LI. There was a significant positive correlation between AI and PCNA LI (r = .393, P = .000). Significant differences in AI between high MVD (> or = 59.9%) and low MVD (< 59.9%) were seen (P < .001), with no appreciable differences in PCNA LI between the two groups. Histologic grade and stage were the only independent prognostic factors in both disease-free and overall survival. Angiogenesis in breast cancer may be related to the ability of tumor cells to survive rather than to their proliferative activity. Apoptosis is related to cell proliferation in breast cancer.