The role of dexamethasone in the treatment of patients with brain tumours remains poorly understood. In this study the self-diffusion parameters of extracellular water within primary intracranial tumours and peritumoural tissue, and their response to dexamethasone, have been measured using MR diffusion tensor imaging. Maps of the mean diffusivity <D> and two measures of diffusion anisotropy were obtained from six patients before, and typically 48-72h after, commencing dexamethasone treatment. A significant decrease in <D> of either tumour (p < 0.02) or oedematous brain (p < 0.04) was observed in three patients. No significant changes were noted in either of the two calculated diffusion anisotropy indices before and after steroid treatment in any of the six patients.