MIR-491 is commonly co-deleted with its adjacent CDKN2A on chromosome 9p21.3 in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). However, it is not known whether deletion of MIR-491 is only a passenger event or has an important role. Small-RNA sequencing of samples from GBM patients demonstrated that both mature products of MIR-491 (miR-491-5p and -3p) are downregulated in tumors compared with the normal brain. The integration of GBM data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), miRNA target prediction and reporter assays showed that miR-491-5p directly targets EGFR, CDK6 and Bcl-xL, whereas miR-491-3p targets IGFBP2 and CDK6. Functionally, miR-491-3p inhibited glioma cell invasion; overexpression of both miR-491-5p and -3p inhibited proliferation of glioma cell lines and impaired the propagation of glioma stem cells (GSCs), thereby prolonging survival of xenograft mice. Moreover, knockdown of miR-491-5p in primary Ink4a-Arf-null mouse glial progenitor cells exacerbated cell proliferation and invasion. Therefore, MIR-491 is a tumor suppressor gene that, by utilizing both mature forms, coordinately controls the key cancer hallmarks: proliferation, invasion and stem cell propagation.