Serum creatinine concentration is widely used as an index of renal function, but this concentration is affected by factors other than glomerular filtration rate (GFR). To develop an equation to predict GFR from serum creatinine concentration and other factors. Cross-sectional study of GFR, creatinine clearance, serum creatinine concentration, and demographic and clinical characteristics in patients with chronic renal disease. 1628 patients enrolled in the baseline period of the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) Study, of whom 1070 were randomly selected as the training sample; the remaining 558 patients constituted the validation sample. The prediction equation was developed by stepwise regression applied to the training sample. The equation was then tested and compared with other prediction equations in the validation sample. To simplify prediction of GFR, the equation included only demographic and serum variables. Independent factors associated with a lower GFR included a higher serum creatinine concentration, older age, female sex, nonblack ethnicity, higher serum urea nitrogen levels, and lower serum albumin levels (P < 0.001 for all factors). The multiple regression model explained 90.3% of the variance in the logarithm of GFR in the validation sample. Measured creatinine clearance overestimated GFR by 19%, and creatinine clearance predicted by the Cockcroft-Gault formula overestimated GFR by 16%. After adjustment for this overestimation, the percentage of variance of the logarithm of GFR predicted by measured creatinine clearance or the Cockcroft-Gault formula was 86.6% and 84.2%, respectively. The equation developed from the MDRD Study provided a more accurate estimate of GFR in our study group than measured creatinine clearance or other commonly used equations.