Glial precursor cells express NG2 and GD3 in the developing brain. These antigens are both over-expressed during neoplasia, which suggests they may have specific functions in the malignant progression of human brain tumours. This study describes the expression of NG2 and GD3 in 28 paediatric and adult brain tumours. Glioblastoma biopsy spheroids were also implanted into nude rats to assess the regional distribution of the molecules within the tumour. These xenografts showed extensive infiltration and growth that mimicked the growth patterns of human gliomas in situ. NG2 was identified in 20 out of 28 brain tumours, where the expression was confined to the main mass of the tumour, and was reduced towards the tumour periphery. NG2 was mainly associated with blood vessels on both the pericyte and basement membrane components of the tumour vasculature. Ki67 (MIB-1) labelling indicated that NG2 expression was associated with areas of high cellular proliferation. Conversely, all the tumours expressed GD3, which was present both in the tumour main mass and throughout the periphery. Thus, the expression of NG2 may be indicative of tumour progression and might be an amenable target for future therapeutic interventions.