The nonuniform growth of certain forms of cancer can present significant complications for their treatment, a particularly acute problem in gliomas. A number of experimental results have suggested that invasion is facilitated by the directed movement of cells along the aligned neural fibre tracts that form a large component of the white matter. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) provides a window for visualising this anisotropy and gaining insight on the potential invasive pathways. In this paper we develop a mesoscopic model for glioma invasion based on the individual migration pathways of invading cells along the fibre tracts. Via scaling we obtain a macroscopic model that allows us to explore the overall growth of a tumour. To connect DTI data to parameters in the macroscopic model we assume that directional guidance along fibre tracts is described by a bimodal von Mises–Fisher distribution (a normal distribution on a unit sphere) and parametrised according to the directionality and degree of anisotropy in the diffusion tensors. We demonstrate the results in a simple model for glioma growth, exploiting both synthetic and genuine DTI datasets to reveal the potentially crucial role of anisotropic structure on invasion.