Family histories of male patients with histologically confirmed malignant gliomas were compared to family histories of controls (wives). Included were 77 case families with 892 relatives and 77 control families with 719 relatives. Cases had significantly more siblings than controls (P = 0.02), although cases were not preferentially the oldest or the youngest sibs. Odds ratios of two or more were found for mental retardation, Parkinson's disease, and meningitis for the relatives of cases versus controls, but none were statistically significant. The excesses of Parkinson's disease and meningitis were explained by the family of one particularly interesting case containing three relatives with meningitis and two relatives with Parkinson's disease. Noteworthy age-adjusted odds ratios for cancer among relatives of cases compared to relatives of controls were 1.6 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.0-2.3) for cancer of any site, 2.4 (95% CI = 0.8-6.1) for breast cancer, and 4.0 (95% CI = 0.6-10.7) for lung cancer. Only the odds ratio for cancer of any site was statistically significant. Overall, 6 of 77 (8%) of cases came from families that included two or more relatives with breast or lung cancer in addition to the proband with malignant glioma. These three cancer sites may form familial clusters worthy of further evaluation in future studies by pedigree and genetic linkage analyses.