Résumé : We monitored the expression of glycan-binding sites on a panel of 10 biotinylated neoglycoconjugates by means of quantitative computer-assisted microscopy to further study the molecular mechanisms in the extensive infiltration of the surrounding brain parenchyma by most astrocytic tumors. Three distinct histological compartments were analyzed for each of the 108 astrocytic tumors (15 pilocytic astrocytomas (WHO grade I), 25 astrocytomas (WHO grade II), 30 anaplastic astrocytomas (WHO grade III), and 38 glioblastomas (WHO grade IV) included in our series. These compartments were tumors (nonperivascular tumor astrocytes), perivascular tumor astrocytes, and blood vessel walls. Clear differences were observed between the pilocytic and the diffuse astrocytic tumors. Furthermore, malignant progression in the latter category was paralleled by a decrease in cells' ability to bind distinct sugar epitopes, especially the D-GalNAc(alpha1-3)-D-GalNAc-beta1-R determinant of the Forssman pentasaccharide in tumors, the alpha-L-fucose in perivascular tumor areas, and the beta-D-glucose in tumor vessel walls. Markedly, the level of binding site expression for alpha-D-mannose decreased in the tumors, the perivascular tumor areas, and the vessel walls. These glycohistochemical results imply the functional relevance of protein-carbohydrate interactions in this tumor system.