Abnormalities of embryogenesis and nervous system development may cause or contribute to the development of childhood brain tumors. To identify genetic for environmental factors that may be associated with etiologies of childhood central nervous system tumors, we examined family histories of 165 children with such tumors for the presence of neurologic disorders, including neural tube defects, mental retardation, seizures, and central nervous system tumors, as well as other cancers and birth defects. Only 1 patient, with the neurofibromatosis-Noonan syndrome, was confirmed to have an underlying syndromic diagnosis associated with central nervous system tumorigenesis. Families of 2 probands with posterior fossa primitive neuroectodermal tumors reported relatives with olivopontocerebellar atrophy. Although increased incidences of study disorders were not identified in this population, it is possible that within individual families one or more of these disorders is related to childhood central nervous system tumorigenesis.