Increased metabolic activity represented by an increase in both anabolism and catabolism in tumours, including gliomas, is a well known phenomenon and utilised in positron emission tomography imaging of tumours. In this study lysosomal enzyme activities of some glycohydrolases were investigated in glioma tissue from human brain. Tumour tissue (ten cases) and brain tissue surrounding the tumour tissue (seven cases) from patients with a histopathological diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme or anaplastic astrocytoma were analysed for activity of the lysosomal enzymes galactosylceramidase, glucosylceramidase, beta-galactosidase, beta-N-acetyl-glucosaminidase, beta-glucuronidase and acid phosphatase. All of the investigated lysosomal enzymes except galactosylceramidase showed increased activity compared with that in normal brain tissue. Moreover, despite sparsity of tumour cells the specimens taken from surrounding areas showed elevated activities of the same enzymes. The findings indicate an upregulation of the activity not only in tumour but also in normal cells of the surrounding area.