Invasion of spheroids from 20 human primary glioblastomas into precultured fetal rat brain tissue in culture has been studied and quantified. Between 30 and 98 percent of the normal brain tissue was destroyed by invading glioma cells within 4 days. The degree of invasion did not correlate with patient survival. A slightly higher invasiveness and shorter survival was seen in tumors with EGF receptor overexpression, and the opposite pattern was found for tumors with a TP53 mutation. The degree of invasiveness in vitro was far higher than would be expected from the dynamics of clinically observed tumor spread. This suggests that mechanisms suppressing invasion may be operative in the normal brain; alternatively the differences may be due to a higher permissiveness of the fetal brain tissue for invasion in vitro.