Magnetic resonance (MR) images of 21 patients who had undergone radiation therapy were analyzed and compared with those of 15 patients who had untreated tumors. T2-weighted images (TR = 1,500 msec, TE = 90 msec) were most helpful in distinguishing recurrent tumor from radiation fibrosis. Radiation fibrosis, like muscle, usually remained low in signal intensity on T2-weighted images, while tumor demonstrated higher signal intensity. In no patient was the signal intensity of tumor the same or less than muscle on the T2-weighted images. However, relatively high signal intensity on T2-weighted images is not specific for tumor recurrence and may be seen in acute radiation pneumonitis, infection, hemorrhage, and even pulmonary radiation fibrosis.