Poorly differentiated cell populations including tumor-initiating stem cells have been demonstrated to display a unique ability to natively internalize fragmented double-stranded DNA. Using this feature as a marker, we show that 0.1% to 6% of human glioblastoma cells from the bioptates can effectively internalize a fluorescently labeled DNA probe. Of these, using samples from 3 patients, 66% to 100% cells are also positive for CD133, a well-established surface marker of tumor-initiating glioma stem cells. Using the samples from primary malignant brain lesions (33 patients), we demonstrate that tumor grading significantly correlates (R = .71) with the percentage of DNA-internalizing cells. No such correlation is observed for relapse samples (18 patients).