Malignant glioblastomas (gliomas) account for approximately one third of all diagnosed brain tumors. Yet, a decade of research has made little progress in advancing the treatment of these tumors. In part this lack of progress is linked to the challenge of discovering how glial tumors are capable of both modulating host immune function and neutralizing immune-based therapies. Patients with gliomas exhibit a broad suppression of cell-mediated immunity. The impaired cell-mediated immunity observed in patients with gliomas appears to result from immunosuppressive factor(s) secreted by the tumor. This article reviews what has been elucidated about the immune defects of patients harboring glioma and the glioma-derived factors which mediate this immunosuppression. A model involving systemic cytokine dysregulation is presented to suggest how the immune defects arise in these individuals.