Distinguishing between low-grade oligodendrogliomas (ODs) and astrocytomas (AC) is of interest for defining prognosis and stratifying patients to specific treatment regimens. The purpose of this study was to determine if the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) from diffusion imaging can help to differentiate between newly diagnosed grade II OD and AC subtypes and to evaluate the ADC and FA values for the mixed population of oligoastrocytomas (OA). Fifty-three patients with newly diagnosed grade II gliomas were studied using a 1.5T whole body scanner (23 ODs, 16 ACs, and 14 OAs). The imaging protocol included post-gadolinium T1-weighted images, T2-weighted images, and either three and/or six directional diffusion imaging sequence with b = 1000 s/mm(2). Diffusion-weighted images were analyzed using in-house software to calculate maps of ADC and for six directional acquisitions, FA. The intensity values were normalized by values from normal appearing white matter (NAWM) to generate maps of normalized apparent diffusion coefficient (nADC) and normalized fractional anisotropy (nFA). The hyperintense region in the T2 weighted image was defined as the T2All region. A Mann-Whitney rank-sum test was performed on the 25th, median, and 75th nADC and nFA among the three subtypes. Logistic regression was performed to determine how well the nADC and nFA predict subtype. Lesions diagnosed as being OD had significantly lower nADC and significantly higher nFA, compared to AC. The nADC and nFA values individually classified the data with an accuracy of 87%. Combining the two did not enhance the classification. The patients with OA had nADC and nFA values between those of OD and AC. This suggests that ADC and FA may be helpful in directing tissue sampling to the most appropriate regions for taking biopsies in order to make a definitive diagnosis.