To enhance the success rate of antiangiogenic therapies in the clinic, it is crucial to identify parameters for tumour angiogenesis that can predict response to these therapies. In brain tumours, one such parameter is vascular leakage, which is a response to tumour-derived vascular endothelial growth factor-A and can be measured by Gadolinium-DTPA (Gd-DTPA)-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, as vascular permeability and angiogenesis are not strictly coupled, tumour blood volume may be another potentially important parameter. In this study, contrast-enhanced MR imaging was performed in three orthotopic mouse models for human brain tumours (angiogenic melanoma metastases and E34 and U87 human glioma xenografts) using both Gd-DTPA to detect vascular leakage and ultrasmall iron oxide particles (USPIO) to measure blood volume. Pixel-by-pixel maps of the enhancement in the transverse relaxation rates (Delta R-2 and Delta R-2*) after injection of USPIO provided an index proportional to the blood volume of the microvasculature and macrovasculature, respectively, for each tumour. The melanoma metastases were characterised by a blood volume and vessel leakage higher than both glioma xenografts. The U87 glioblastoma xenografts displayed higher permeability and blood volume in the rim than in the core. The E34 glioma xenografts were characterised by a relatively high blood volume, accompanied by only a moderate blood-brain barrier disruption. Delineation of the tumour was best assessed on post-USPIO gradient-echo images. These findings suggest that contrast-enhanced MR imaging using USPIOs and, in particular, Delta R-2 and Delta R-2* quantitation, provides important additional information about tumour vasculature.