Although primary brain tumors represent an important cause of cancer related mortality in the United States, advances in the treatment of these tumors has been slow and has generally lagged behind that of most systemic tumors. One of the major reasons for this is the paucity of well conducted, prospective radiation and chemotherapy trials. For the brain tumor trials that have been conducted, small patient numbers, heterogeneous patient populations, and non-uniformity of response criteria, have made the current clinical data base difficult to interpret. Data from several prospective, multi-institutional randomized trials have defined a role for radiation therapy in the treatment of malignant gliomas and on-going trials will help define refinements in technique. Although there does appear to be a place for the use of chemotherapy in the treatment of a subgroup of patients with malignant gliomas, its role for the majority of patients remains unclear. Only through better understanding of the biology of these tumors, more effective therapies, and the implementation of better clinical trial design can we hope to make significant progress in the treatment of malignant gliomas.