Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an incurable brain tumor. Due to the striking heterogeneity that characterizes GBM, there is no known tumor- specific antigen or receptor that is expressed by a majority of GBM patients. We found that virtually all studied human GBM specimens (23 samples) abundantly expressed a receptor for interleukin (IL)-13 in situ, whereas normal human brain had few, if any, IL-13-binding sites. The GBM-associated IL-13 receptor was both quantitatively and qualitatively different from and, thus, more restrictive than the shared signaling receptor of normal tissue: it was IL-4 independent. The receptor for IL-13 was overexpressed by a majority of cancer cells in situ. Furthermore, cytotoxins targeted to this more restrictive IL-13R produced cures in animals bearing xenografts of human high-grade gliomas. Thus, unexpectedly, the receptor for an immune regulatory cytokine may be a long sought marker and, concomitantly, a unique imaging site and therapeutic target for GBM, the most malignant and the most heterogeneous of brain tumors.