Clinical and histopathological factors fail to adequately predict outcomes in children with high-grade gliomas, indicating a need to identify relevant biological markers of tumor behavior to guide therapeutic decision- making. Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is a mitogenic and angiogenic factor that has been observed to be overexpressed in a significant percentage of malignant gliomas, although the prognostic significance of this expression is unknown. To address this issue, the expression status of bFGF was examined immunohistochemically in a series of 27 archival pediatric malignant non- brainstem gliomas treated consecutively at our institution between 1975 and 1992. Tumors were categorized based on expression levels, and the association between expression status and outcome was examined. Sixteen cases showed high levels of expression of bFGF, and 11 showed low levels. There was no correlation between expression status and either tumor histology, patient age, or tumor location. However, there was a significant difference in outcome between patients with high levels of bFGF immunoreactivity and those with low expression. Median progression-free survival was >66 months in the low bFGF group as compared to 6 months in the high bFGF group (P = 0.006). Median overall survival was >66 months in the low bFGF group as compared to 18 months in the high bFGF group (P = 0.03). Tumor bFGF expression seems to be strongly associated with outcome in children with high-grade gliomas and, consequently, may serve as a biological correlate of patient prognosis in conjunction with other prognostic variables.