In this review we summarize the current understanding of signal transduction downstream of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) and its receptor VEGFR2, and the relationship between these signal transduction pathways and the hallmark responses of VEGFA, angiogenesis and vascular permeability. These physiological responses involve a number of effectors, including extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs), Src, phosphoinositide 3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt, focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Rho family GTPases, endothelial NO and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). Several of these factors are involved in the regulation of both angiogenesis and vascular permeability. Tumour angiogenesis primarily relies on VEGFA-driven responses, which to a large extent result in a dysfunctional vasculature. The reason for this remains unclear, although it appears that certain aspects of the VEGFA-stimulated angiogenic milieu (high level of microvascular density and permeability) promote tumour expansion. The high degree of redundancy and complexity of VEGFA-driven tumour angiogenesis may explain why tumours commonly develop resistance to anti-angiogenic therapy targeting VEGFA signal transduction.