Glioblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in adults. The currently available treatments offer only a palliative survival advantage and the need for effective treatments remains an urgent priority. Activation of the p53 growth suppression/apoptotic pathway is one of the promising strategies in targeting glioma cells. We show that the quinoline derivative chloroquine activates the p53 pathway and suppresses growth of glioma cells in vitro and in vivo in an orthotopic (U87MG) human glioblastoma mouse model. Induction of apoptosis is one of the mechanisms underlying the effects of chloroquine on suppressing glioma cell growth and viability. siRNA-mediated downregulation of p53 in wild-type but not mutant p53 glioblastoma cells substantially impaired chloroquine-induced apoptosis. In addition to its p53-activating effects, chloroquine may also inhibit glioma cell growth via p53-independent mechanisms. Our results clarify the mechanistic basis underlying the antineoplastic effect of chloroquine and reveal its therapeutic potential as an adjunct to glioma chemotherapy.