Prognostic value of histological grading of oligodendroglial tumors is controversial and interobserver reproducibility in grading of these tumors is unknown. Seven neuropathologists and 6 surgical pathologists experienced in brain tumor-diagnosis assessed 124 oligodendroglial tumors operated at the Mayo Clinic (1960-1990). Among histologic parameters upon which current oligodendroglioma grading systems are based, only high cellularity, presence of mitoses, microcalcifications, endothelial hypertrophy, endothelial proliferation, and necrosis appeared to be reproducible. Reproducible histologic features, based on consensus ratings among neuropathologists (defined as > 60%), were evaluated for the association with cause-specific survival by fitting Cox regression models. By univariate analysis, a significant association with survival was found for age, high cellularity, presence of mitoses, endothelial hypertrophy and proliferation and necrosis. On multivariable analysis with a stepwise variable selection method, only age and presence of endothelial proliferation were found to be independently associated with survival with a discriminatory index of the model of 0.68. Mitotic index was significantly associated with survival based on the grading from each separate neuropathologist, but it was not based on consensus, most likely because this was classified as indeterminate in 54% of cases. Alternatively, "models fit" considering the assessment of single neuropathologists, identified a model based on age and on mitotic index with similar discriminatory indices of 0.69-0.7. Our study found few factors independently associated with cause specific-survival among morphological parameters. These findings are consistent with the present WHO stratification of oligodendrogliomas into low- and high-grade variants.