There is morphologic evidence of subclinical atherosclerosis in Behcet's disease (BD) patients obtained by high-resolution B-mode ultrasonography (US). Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent angiogenetic factor and a marker for endothelial dysfunction. VEGF could contribute to the pathological events in BD. VEGF could also be an important factor in the progression of atherosclerosis. In this study, we investigated whether there is correlation between intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid arteries and serum VEGF levels in BD patients and healthy controls. Twenty-one patients with BD (male/female: 15/6, mean age: 35.8 +/- 8.6 years) were individually matched to control subjects on the basis of age (within 3 years) and sex. Carotid IMT of the subjects was measured by high-resolution B-mode US. Mean IMT values of common carotid arteries were 0.86 +/- 0.18 mm for patients with BD, and 0.57 +/- 0.14 mm for healthy controls (p<0.001). Mean VEGF levels were 130.41 +/- 58.28 pg/ml for patients with BD and 82.69 +/- 25.03 pg/ml for healthy controls (p<0.001). There was no correlation between VEGF levels in the control group and in the BD group, but there was a significant correlation between VEGF levels and mean carotid IMT in the whole group (r = 0.317, p<0.05). In conclusion, elevation of VEGF appears as a feature of the inflammatory reaction during the course of BD, not a direct determinant of subclinical atherosclerosis. On the other hand, the significant correlation between carotid IMT and serum VEGF levels in the whole group suggests that association between VEGF levels and carotid IMT warrants further investigation with larger sample sizes.