Although several studies have examined brain tumor markers for prognostic value, few investigations have stratified analysis based on specific histologic grade. The objective of this study was to evaluate a single histologic grade of glioma, the grade IV glioma or glioblastoma (World Health Organization Classification), with a comprehensive panel of tumor markers in an attempt to identify those with prognostic significance. Tumor samples from a cohort of patients with glioblastoma multiforme (n = 32) were examined for tumor markers, DNA analysis, and clinical variables in an attempt to determine a 'profile' for this tumor. We used univariate and multivariate statistical analysis to determine the prognostic value of tumor cell ploidy, percent S-phase, DNA index, p53, and Ki-67 labeling index, as well as the variables of gender, race, age, location of tumor, history of chemotherapy, and primary versus recurrent tumor. Two additional tumor markers, multidrug resistance gene 1 and glutathione-S-transferase subtype pi, were included in the sample testing, but were not analyzed statistically. Univariate analysis indicated that increasing age had a strong association with decreased survival. Female gender, increasing Ki-67, no chemotherapy before sample collection, and primary glioblastoma showed some association with decreased survival in the univariate model. The univariate results indicated that race, side of tumor, ploidy, S-phase, DNA index, and p53 had no prognostic value. Multivariate modeling demonstrated that age, gender, and Ki-67 were the strongest factors associated with survival. The relevant literature is reviewed.