The clinical, computerized tomography (CT), and histological findings from 84 children with brain-stem gliomas were reviewed to determine whether any of these features correlated with outcome. Clinical data were available from all children, CT data from 62 children, and biopsy data from 54 children. Actuarial life tables were constructed for each clinical, CT, and histological feature and the differences between these were analyzed. The period of survival was significantly shorter in children who presented with cranial nerve palsies (p less than 0.0001), and such children were more likely to have malignant tumors. Two CT features correlated with a significantly decreased survival time: a hypodense tumor prior to contrast administration and a tumor that involved the entire brain stem. Tumor enhancement was not associated with any alteration in survival times. Children with tumor biopsies that were histologically benign survived significantly longer than those whose tumors were malignant (p less than 0.0001). The histological feature associated with the poorest survival time was the presence of mitoses; features associated with the best prognosis were Rosenthal fibers and calcification. The data indicate that brain-stem gliomas are not a homogeneous group of tumors as far as their clinical, CT, and pathological features are concerned. These features may be useful in assessing prognosis and in developing future treatment protocols.