Current models of oncogenesis incorporate the contributions of chronic inflammation and aging to the patterns of tumor formation. These oncogenic pathways, involving leukocytes and fibroblasts, are not readily applicable to brain tumors (glioma), and other mechanisms must account for microenvironmental influences on central nervous system tumorigenesis. Previous studies from our laboratories have used neurofibromatosis-1 (NF1) genetically engineered mouse (GEM) models to understand the spatial restriction of glioma formation to the optic pathway of young children. Based on our initial findings, we hypothesize that brain region-specific differences in cAMP levels account for the pattern of NF1 gliomagenesis. To provide evidence that low levels of cAMP promote glioma formation in NF1, we generated foci of decreased cAMP in brain regions where gliomas rarely form in children with NF1. Focal cAMP reduction was achieved by forced expression of phosphodiesterase 4A1 (PDE4A1) in the cortex of Nf1 GEM strains. Ectopic PDE4A1 expression produced hypercellular lesions with features of human NF1-associated glioma. Conversely, pharmacologic elevation of cAMP with the PDE4 inhibitor rolipram dramatically inhibited optic glioma growth and tumor size in Nf1 GEM in vivo. Together, these results indicate that low levels of cAMP in a susceptible Nf1 mouse strain are sufficient to promote gliomagenesis, and justify the implementation of cAMP-based stroma-targeted therapies for glioma.