Triterpenoids are pentacyclic secondary metabolites present in many terrestrial plants. Natural triterpenoids have been reported to exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic activities. Here, we show that modifications of ring A of boswellic acid (2 cyano, 3 enone) resulted in a highly active growth inhibitory, anti-inflammatory, prodifferentiative and anti-tumour triterpenoid compound called cyano enone of methyl boswellates (CEMB). This compound showed cytotoxic activity on a number of cancer cell lines with IC₅₀ ranging from 0.2 to 0.6 μM. CEMB inhibits DNA synthesis and induces apoptosis in A549 cell line at 0.25 μM and 1 μM concentrations, respectively. CEMB induces adipogenic differentiation in 3T3-L1 cells at a concentration of 0.1 μM. Finally, administration of CEMB intra-tumourally significantly inhibited the growth of C6 glioma tumour xenograft in immuno-compromised mice. Collectively, these results suggest that CEMB is a very potent anti-tumour compound.