Five patients who had undergone radiation therapy for cerebral tumors and whose conditions were deteriorating were examined by means of positron emission tomography (PET) with [18F] fluorodeoxyglucose. All five cases had similar clinical and computed tomographic findings. Using the PET technique the two cases of radiation necrosis were distinguished from the three recurrent tumors. In the two cases of radiation necrosis the rate of glucose utilization in the lesion was markedly reduced compared with the normal brain parenchyma. In the recurrent gliomas, however, the glucose metabolic rate was elevated. All five diagnoses were confirmed by biopsy or autopsy.