Embryonal tumors of the central nervous system represent a heterogeneous group of childhood cancers with an unknown pathogenesis; diagnosis, on the basis of histological appearance alone, is controversial and patients' response to therapy is difficult to predict. They encompass medulloblastoma, atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors and a group of primitive neuroectodermal tumors. All are aggressive tumors with the tendency to disseminate throughout the central nervous system. The large amount of genomic and molecular data generated over the last 5-10 years encourages optimism that new molecular targets will soon improve outcomes. Recent neurobiological studies have uncovered the key role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in embryonal tumors biology and their potential use as biomarkers is increasingly being recognized and investigated. However the successful use of microRNAs as reliable biomarkers for the detection and management of pediatric brain tumors represents a substantial challenge. This review debates the importance of miRNAs in the biology of central nervous systemembryonal tumors focusing on medulloblastoma and atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors and highlights the advantages as well as the limitations of their prospective application as biomarkers and candidates for molecular therapeutic targets.