The clotting factor XIIIa (FXIIIa) has been shown to be present both in tumor cells and in tumor-associated macrophages of different neoplasms such as Hodgkin's disease, giant cell tumor of bone, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, meningeal tumors, and hemangiopericytoma. The biological significance of these findings, however, are still unclear. This study investigates the immunohistochemical distribution of FXIIIa in 186 tumors of the central nervous system (CNS) in order to evaluate its possible diagnostic or prognostic significance in neuro-oncology. High-grade gliomas such as glioblastoma, gliosarcoma, astrocytoma (grade III WHO), and ependymoma (III) as well as meningiomas and meningeal hemangiopericytomas consistently contained factor XIIIa-positive cells, whereas low-grade glial tumors did not do so. One desmoplastic medulloblastoma and one anaplastic schwannoma also showed FXIIIa-positive cells. With the exception of hemangiopericytomas, however, the major source of FXIIIa expression in all these tumors consisted of a subpopulation of tumor-associated macrophages, the exact role of which still remains unclear. Because of its non-discriminatory staining in a wide variety of CNS tumors, the differential diagnostic contribution of FXIIIa in neuro-oncology seems to be limited.