Over 35 intraaxial lesions in 15 patients suspected of having intracranial tumors were studied with MR before and after injection of Gadolinium-DTPA (Gd-DTPA). Diseases included primary and metastatic brain tumors, plaques of multiple sclerosis, occult arteriovenous malformations, lymphoma, toxoplasmosis, and pituitary adenoma. The precontrast T2-weighted sequence (SE 2000/30, 60) was found to be most sensitive in detecting intraaxial lesions, showing 17 lesions that were not seen on the post-Gd-DTPA T1-weighted sequence (SE 500/30). In one case of multiple sclerosis, several lesions seen on the pre-Gd-DTPA study on T2-weighted images faded after injection of Gd-DTPA (due to T2 shortening). In two patients with large metastatic foci, other small metastatic lesions were seen better after Gd-DTPA on both T1- and T2-weighted sequences. Four other patients with only one focal-enhancing lesion and one patient with multifocal lesions on T1-weighted images actually had a much larger single glioma depicted on pre-Gd-DTPA T2-weighted images. In a patient with AIDS, a ring-enhancing lesion thought to be an abscess proved to be lymphoma. The cryptic arteriovenous malformations enhanced but showed more characteristic findings, such as hemorrhage, on pre-Gd-DTPA studies. Our experience suggests that Gd-DTPA may not improve sensitivity of MR in the detection of intraaxial lesions. However, functional aspects of brain disease, such as the presence of perfusion of a lesion and active breach of the blood-brain barrier, are depicted well with Gd-DTPA and are vital for proper diagnosis in many instances.