Thirty-nine glial tumours (28 glioblastomas (GB) and 11 low-grade gliomas) were investigated with DNA microarrays to reveal a possible specific gene expression profile. Unsupervised classification through hierarchical cluster analysis identified two groups of tumours, the first composed of low-grade gliomas and the second mainly composed of GB. Nine genes were identified as most informative: seven were over-expressed in low-grade gliomas and under-expressed in GB; on the contrary, two genes, insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 (IGFBP-2) and cell division cycle 20 homologue (CDC20), were over-expressed in GB and under-expressed in low-grade tumours. This same genetic profile was confirmed by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Immunohistochemistry for IGFBP-2 was positive in 88.8% of the cases of GB and in only one low-grade glioma, whilst CDC20 immunostained 74.1% of the cases of GB and none low-grade glioma. This was confirmed in an additional series of cases studied with immunohistochemistry only. In conclusion, over-expression of mRNA levels of IGFBP-2 and CDC20 is highly related to GB, IGFBP-2 and CDC-20 gene and protein expressions are strongly correlated, and IGFBP-2 and CDC20 immunopositivity can be useful for the identification of GB in small biopsies.