Twenty-six patients with primary intracranial tumors were evaluated by magnetic resonance (MR) and a comparison was made with CT findings. The SE technique with TR = 2,000 ms and TE = 56 ms was most useful in delineating normal anatomy, in differentiating gray and white matter, and in optimizing the visualization of edema. The use of TR = 500 ms optimized sensitivity to T1 relaxation time differences in disparate tissue and best defined the cerebrospinal fluid spaces. Although prolongation of T1 and T2 relaxation values was seen with most malignant lesions, several cases produced no obvious prolongation of T1. Separation of tumor from surrounding edema was possible in several instances. In 16/26 patients information not available on CT was obtained with MR. This included detection of altered tissue characteristics where CT showed only mass effect, more accurate depiction of full extent and location of tumor, and visualization of associated abnormalities. However, a small inner ear epidermoid tumor seen with high-resolution CT (1.5-mm sections) was difficult to identify with certainty on MR, and in two other cases punctate foci of calcification were not identified on MR.