Conventional therapy for brain tumors, consisting of neurosurgical intervention and radiotherapy, has not resulted in the successes achievable in other childhood malignancies. The role of adjuvant chemotherapy, well defined in many childhood cancers, has not yet contributed significantly to the treatment of children with brain tumors. Chemotherapy of recurrent tumors has produced regressions but no cures. The most active agents identified to date in the treatment of recurrent posterior fossa tumors include cisplatinum, cyclophosphamide and methotrexate. Future efforts will need to focus on the rational selection of drugs for study in limited agent histology-stratified phase II trials, with advancement of active agents into large randomized phase III adjuvant therapy trials. © 1987 Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.