Histopathological, immunohistochemical and clinical parameters were correlated with survival in 89 cases of oligodendroglioma (65 patients with grade II and 24 patients with grade III of the WHO classification). Median survival time and 5-year survival rate were 3.5 years and 76% for patients with oligodendroglioma grade II and 0.875 years and 23% for patients with oligodendroglioma grade III. The tumor biopsy specimens were immunohistochemically analyzed for Ki 67 (MIB-1), vimentin, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), neuron-specific enolase (NSE) and synaptophysin. MIB-1 nuclear labeling index ranged from 0.0% to 33.4%; vimentin-immunoreactive tumor cells were found in 25 cases. MIB-1 nuclear labeling index and vimentin immunoreaction showed a significant statistical correlation to the 5-year survival rate of the patients. Tumors with vimentin expression (n=25) and/or high MIB-1 labeling index (n=26) had a poorer prognosis than tumors lacking vimentin expression (n=57) and/or displaying a low MIB-1 labeling index (n=56). The expression of immunoreactivity for GFAP (n=53), NSE (n=23) and synaptophysin (n=15) appeared to be of no prognostic relevance. Patients with gross total tumor resection (n=47) had a median survival time and 5-year survival rate of 3.3 years and 84% compared to 1.2 years and 42% for patients with subtotal resection (n=41). The comparison between patients who underwent surgery alone (n=53) and those who had surgery plus postoperative radiation therapy showed no significant survival benefit from postoperative radiation therapy. In conclusion, tumor grade, MIB-1 labeling index, expression of vimentin and the extent of surgery are shown to be of prognostic relevance for patients with oligodendroglioma.