Gliomas comprise over 50% of all childhood brain tumors. Treatment of recurrent childhood gliomas has been disappointing and the effectiveness of therapy has been difficult to judge because of the variable natural history of the disease. Information gathered recently has suggested that treatment with [1-(2-chloroethyl)-3-cyclohexyl-1-nitrosourea)] (CCNU) and vincristine (VCR) after radiotherapy is effective in prolonging survival in children with newly diagnosed anaplastic gliomas. The authors have used these same drugs--CCNU (100 mg/m2) and VCR (1.5 mg/m2 up to a maximum dose of 2 mg)--in 6-week cycles for a maximum of eight cycles in children with recurrent gliomas. To date, 15 patients have been treated; five patients had malignant gliomas and ten low-grade gliomas. Three children showed improvement, five had stable disease, and seven had progressive disease. Of the five patients with malignant gliomas, four progressed within two cycles of treatment and one had stable disease for 7 months on treatment and then relapsed. Seven of ten children with low-grade gliomas benefitted from treatment and six remain in continuous remission a median of 16 months after initiation of therapy. Three of these children are off all therapy 21, 30, and 30 months after treatment, respectively. Therapy was well tolerated and toxicity consisted primarily of reversible bone marrow suppression. The authors conclude that CCNU and VCR chemotherapy is effective in children with recurrent low-grade gliomas and can result in relatively long-term disease stabilization. In limited experience of the authors, it is not of benefit in children with recurrent anaplastic lesions.