Recent advances in experimental tumor biology are being applied to critical clinical problems of primary brain tumors. The expression of peripheral benzodiazepine receptors, which are sparse in normal brain, is increased as much as 20-fold in brain tumors. Experimental studies show promise in using labeled ligands to these receptors to identify the outer margins of malignant brain tumors. Whereas positron emission tomography has improved the dynamic understanding of tumors, the labeled selective tumor receptors with positron emitters will enhance the ability to specifically diagnose and greatly aid in the pretreatment planning for tumors. Modulation of these receptors will also affect tumor growth and metabolism. Novel methods to deliver antitumor agents to the brain and new approaches using biologic response modifiers also hold promise to further improve the management of brain tumors.