We investigated metabolic changes in brain tumours following treatment, using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. In meningiomas, effective therapeutic embolisation led to an acute increase in lactate. In radiosensitive tumours such as malignant lymphoma, a decrease in lactate and in increase in N-acetyl-aspartate occurred after radiotherapy, which preceded changes observed on magnetic resonance imaging. On the other hand, no significant changes in spectral patterns were observed in malignant gliomas resistant to therapy. Tissue characterisation of brain tumours by spectral patterns on proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy remains controversial. However, we have shown it to be sensitive to metabolic changes following treatment, which may reflect the efficacy of the therapy.