HMBA, a differentiation inducer belonging to the class of hybrid polar compounds, is known to induce terminal differentiation of a number of leukemic and solid tumour cell lines. In this report we have shown that HMBA markedly inhibits growth of C6 glioma cells at non-cytotoxic concentrations ranging from 2.5m m to 10m m in a dose-dependent manner. The growth inhibitory effect can be detected as early as 18–24h. By the sixth day the growth inhibition decreases at all the concentrations tested. Treatment with HMBA results in an accumulation of C6 cells in G0/G1 phase along with a decrease in the number of cells in S phase. HMBA induces morphological differentiation of C6 cells and increases expression of glial fibriliary acidic protein (GFAP), a marker for mature astrocytes. HMBA induces c-fos and represses cycloheximide-induced c-jun and fra-1 expression. HMBA-induced growth inhibition of C6 cells is accompanied by a decrease in Cdk4 protein levels. However, HMBA fails to sustain low Cdk4 levels, which may be responsible for HMBA's failure to sustain the growth inhibitory effect.