Factors affecting the survival rate in patients with meningiomas were explored using the National Cancer Database (NCDB), which includes tumors from approximately 1000 hospitals participating in the American College of Surgeons tumor registry program. Analysis included over 9000 cases diagnosed from 1985 to 1988 and 1990 to 1992. Survival estimates were computed and prognostic factors were identified using a proportional hazards model. The overall 5-year survival rate was 69% and it declined with age. This rate was 81% in patients aged 21 to 64 and 56% for patients 65 years of age or older. When patients were grouped by the histological type of their tumors, those with benign tumors had an overall 5-year survival rate of 70%, whereas the overall 5-year survival rates in patients with atypical and malignant meningiomas were 75% and 55%, respectively. Prognostic factors for benign tumors included age at diagnosis, tumor size, whether treated surgically, hospital type, and radiation therapy; for malignant tumors, age at diagnosis, whether treated surgically, and radiation therapy were statistically significant. The 5-year rate for recurrence of symptoms (regardless of the method of treatment) was 18.2% for those with benign tumors and 27.5% for those with malignant tumors. In patients whose benign tumor had been completely removed, the 5-year rate of tumor recurrence was 20.5%. Although not population-based, the NCDB has the potential for providing pertinent information regarding patient characteristics and methods of treatment for benign, as well as malignant, brain tumors.