Histologic variants of idiopathic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) may have prognostic value. A recent working classification system has distinguished five FSGS variants. We evaluated a cohort of adult patients with biopsy-proven FSGS diagnosed between March 1982 and July 2001 to determine if subtypes were associated with renal outcome. Renal biopsies were reviewed by two pathologists. Demographic and clinical data were obtained from charts. Outcomes were partial and complete remission of the nephrotic syndrome, and renal failure. The frequency of FSGS variants was: 3% cellular (N=6), 11% collapsing (N=22), 17% tip lesion (N=34), 26% perihilar (N=52), and 42% not otherwise specified (NOS) (N=83). Collapsing FSGS affected younger and more often black patients. Black race was uncommon in tip variant. Collapsing and tip variants had higher proteinuria and lower serum albumin than perihilar and NOS variants. Better renal function and less severe tubulointerstitial injury were observed in patients with tip variant. These patients were more likely to receive steroids and more often achieved complete remission (50%). After a median follow-up of 1.8 years, 23% of patients were on dialysis and 28% had renal failure. Collapsing FSGS had worse 1-year (74%) and 3-year (33%) renal survival compared to other variants (overall cohort renal survival at 1 and 3 years: 86 and 67%). Different histologic variants of FSGS have substantial differences in clinical features at the time of biopsy diagnosis and substantial differences in renal outcomes.