The purpose of this study was to examine the incidence of gene amplification in patients with primary (de novo) and secondary high-grade gliomas (gliomas evolving from lower grade malignancies) and to assess its prognostic significance. A total of 186 prospectively collected frozen surgical specimens were analyzed. Extracted DNA was examined by Southern blot using probes corresponding to the EGFR, CDK4, MDM2, n-MYC, CYCD1, PDGFR-alpha, MET, c-MYC oncogenes. Complete clinical data regarding age, sex, tumor size, extent of surgical resection, postoperative therapy and patient survival were collected. We showed that EGFR followed by CDK4 were the most frequent oncogene amplifications. Oncogene amplification events were significantly more frequent in grade 4 than in grade 3 astrocytomas, mixed gliomas or oligodendrogliomas (P<0.001). With respect to EGFR, there was a significant difference in the frequency of amplification between primary and secondary gliomas (P=0.001); however, no difference in the amplification frequency of the other oncogenes was observed. There was no apparent correlation between the occurrence of gene amplification and patient survival, possibly because the genes amplified in human gliomas are part of larger signaling pathways.