Background: There is inconsistency in the criteria used to define anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drug-induced hypertension (AVEGF-HT) in published studies. It is unknown whether specific patient characteristics similarly predict AVEGF-HT using different criteria. Methods: We assessed the associations between clinical and demographic factors (n = 22) and AVEGF-HT, using six criteria based on predefined on-treatment blood pressure (BP) thresholds or absolute BP elevations versus baseline, in a post hoc analysis of a phase III trial of 1102 patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) randomized to pazopanib or sunitinib (COMPARZ study). Results: The cumulative incidence of AVEGF-HT at any time while on treatment ranged between 14.8% [criterion: grade ⩾3 toxicity, National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (NCI CTCAE) v3.0] and 58.8% (criterion: absolute systolic BP increase ⩾20 mmHg versus baseline). After adjusting for anti-VEGF treatment and baseline BP, the number of significant (p < 0.05) predictors ranged between one (criterion: absolute systolic BP increase ⩾20 mmHg, on-treatment systolic BP ⩾140 mmHg and diastolic BP ⩾90 mmHg) and nine (criterion: grade ⩾3 toxicity, NCI CTCAE v3.0). Age, use of antidiabetic drugs and use of antihypertensive drugs each significantly predicted four AVEGF-HT criteria. By contrast, sex, smoking, heart rate, proteinuria, Karnofsky performance status, and use of thiazide diuretics did not predict any criterion. Conclusions: There was a significant variability in the incidence, number and type of predictors of AVEGF-HT, using six different criteria, in a post hoc analysis of the COMPARZ study. The use of specific criteria might affect the assessment of the interaction between anti-VEGF drugs, AVEGF-HT and cancer outcomes.