The neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) gene encodes a 360-residue region showing significant homology to the catalytic domains of both mammalian GTPase-activating protein (GAP) and yeast IRA protein. The product of the GAP-related domain of the NF1 gene (NF1-GRD) has been shown to stimulate ras GTPase and consequently to inactivate ras protein. We previously reported that the NF1-GRD has two types of transcripts, type I and type II, which are generated by an alternative splicing mechanism, and that the differential splicing of the NF1-GRD may be related to differentiation of neuroectodermal cells. Here we examined the differential expression of type I and type II transcripts of NF1-GRD in clinical samples of supratentorial malignant brain tumors by the RNA-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method using frozen tissue sections. Our observations revealed that normal cerebrum predominantly expressed the type II NF1-GRD transcript, whereas primitive neuroectodermal tumors predominantly expressed the type I transcript. Additionally, although the type I/type II ratio in astrocytomas varied widely among tissue samples, all glioblastomas showed higher type I/type II ratios than adjacent brain samples. The RNA-PCR analysis using frozen tissue sections is a useful and sensitive method for detecting genetic markers in clinical tissue samples.