Pattern recognition techniques (factor analysis and neural networks) were used to investigate and classify human brain tumors based on the 1H NMR spectra of chemically extracted biopsies (n = 118). After removing information from lactate (because of variable ischemia times), unsupervised learning suggested that the spectra separated naturally into two groups: meningiomas and other tumors. Principal component analysis reduced the dimensionality of the data. A back-propagation neural network using the first 30 principal components gave 85% correct classification of meningiomas and nonmeningiomas. Simplification by vector rotation gave vectors that could be assigned to various metabolites, making it possible to use or to reject their information for neural network classification. Using scores calculated from the four rotated vectors due to creatine and glutamine gave the best classification into meningiomas and nonmeningiomas (89% correct). Classification of gliomas (n = 47) gave 62% correct within one grade. Only inositol showed a significant correlation with glioma grade.