Although conventional proton magnetic resonance imaging has increased our ability to detect brain tumors, it has not enhanced to nearly the same degree our ability to diagnose tumor type. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy is a safe, noninvasive means of performing biochemical analysis in vivo. Using this technique, we characterized and classified tissue from normal brains, as well as tissue from the five most common types of adult supratentorial brain tumors. These six tissue types differed in their pattern across the six metabolites measured. 'Leaving-one-out' linear discriminant analyses based on these resonance profiles correctly classified 104 of 105 spectra, and, whereas conventional preoperative clinical diagnosis misclassified 20 of 91 tumors, the linear discriminant analysis approach missed only 1. Thus, we have found that a pattern-recognition analysis of the biochemical information obtained from proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy can enable accurate, noninvasive diagnosis of the most prevalent types of supratentorial brain tumors.