© 2015 The Author(s) Objectives: We hypothesized that three-dimensional pseudocontinuous arterial spin labelling (pCASL) may have similar efficacy in astrocytic tumour grading as dynamic susceptibility contrast-enhanced perfusion-weighted imaging (DSC-PWI), and the grading accuracy may be further improved when combined with apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values. Methods: Forty-three patients with astrocytic tumours were studied using diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), pCASL, and DSC-PWI. Histograms of ADC and normalized tumour cerebral blood flow values (nCBF on pCASL and nrCBF on DSC-PWI) were measured and analyzed. Results: The mean 10 % ADC value was the DWI parameter that provided the best differentiation between low-grade astrocytoma (LGA) and high-grade astrocytoma (HGA). The nCBF and nrCBF (1.810 ± 0.979 and 2.070 ± 1.048) in LGA were significantly lower than those (4.505 ± 2.270 and 5.922 ± 2.630) in HGA. For differentiation between LGA and HGA, the cutoff values of 0.764 × 10-3 mm2/s for mean 10 % ADC, 2.374 for nCBF, and 3.464 for nrCBF provided the optimal accuracy (74.4 %, 86.1 %, and 88.6 %, respectively). Combining the ADC values with nCBF or nrCBF could further improve the grading accuracy to 97.7 % or 95.3 %, respectively. Conclusions: pCASL is an alternative to DSC-PWI for astrocytic tumour grading. The combination of DWI and contrast-free pCASL offers a valuable choice in patients with risk factors. Key Points: • pCASL shows positive correlation with DSC-PWI in astrocytic tumour grading.• ADC values based on ADC histograms can be an objective method.• Combination of DWI and pCASL or DSC-PWI can improve grading accuracy.