The fourth edition of the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of tumours of the central nervous system, published in 2007, lists several new entities, including angiocentric glioma, papillary glioneuronal tumour, rosette-forming glioneuronal tumour of the fourth ventricle, papillary tumour of the pineal region, pituicytoma and spindle cell oncocytoma of the adenohypophysis. Histological variants were added if there was evidence of a different age distribution, location, genetic profile or clinical behaviour; these included pilomyxoid astrocytoma, anaplastic medulloblastoma and medulloblastoma with extensive nodularity. The WHO grading scheme and the sections on genetic profiles were updated and the rhabdoid tumour predisposition syndrome was added to the list of familial tumour syndromes typically involving the nervous system. As in the previous, 2000 edition of the WHO ‘Blue Book’, the classification is accompanied by a concise commentary on clinico-pathological characteristics of each tumour type. The 2007 WHO classification is based on the consensus of an international Working Group of 25 pathologists and geneticists, as well as contributions from more than 70 international experts overall, and is presented as the standard for the definition of brain tumours to the clinical oncology and cancer research communities world-wide.