Invasive growth is one of the characteristics of gliomas--local infiltration into the surrounding nerve tissue decisively restricts all treatment strategies. Particularly the merit of all local treatment modalities is queried. The question whether a glioma represents a diffuse disease of the CNS or a local disturbance with unrestrained expansion tendency is still at issue. Understanding of the invasion mechanisms is of importance inasmuch as biologically reasonable and effective strategies of limiting and suppressing glioma invasion can only hence be derived. The affinity of glioma cells towards certain structures of the extracellular matrix as well as taking advantage of tumour vascularisation with regard to extension play a decisive role. Still not fully understood are tumour host interactions. Future thinking will have to take into account these interactions as well as evidence to be derived from development neurobiology and regeneration capacity of the CNS. The present review is meant to give a short overview and disclose many questions.