Abstract Reports of cytogenetic abnormalities in pediatric central nervous system (CNS) tumors are important for collection and comparison of large numbers of karyotypes of primary CNS neoplasms to produce statistically significant correlations. We report cytogenetic results of 119 samples of pediatric CNS tumors from 109 patients. Tumors included 33 low-grade astrocytomas, 18 high-grade astrocytomas, 14 gangliogliomas, 13 ependymomas, 17 primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET), three choroid plexus papillomas and carcinomas, and a miscellaneous group of 20 rare primary CNS tumors and metastases. In each group, cytogenetic results were correlated with histologic subtype and survival. The study indicated specific chromosome abnormalities in different groups of tumors. Low-grade astrocytomas showed mostly numeric abnormalities with gains of chromosome 7, high-grade astrocytomas showed differences from karyotypic changes observed in adults in lacking double minutes (dmin) and monosomy 10. The ependymoma group showed the largest proportion of abnormal karyotypes with frequent involvement of chromosome 6 and 16. Chromosome 6 was the single most common abnormal chromosome in this study, closely followed by chromosomes 1 and 11. Pediatric CNS neoplasms differ from adult tumors cytogenetically as well as histologically and biologically.