Oligonucleotide-directed triple helix formation is a powerful approach to block transcription of specific genes. Although the oligonucleotide triplex approach is efficient for inhibiting gene expression in cultured cells, suppression is transient. We developed an approach which inhibits insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) expression following stable transfection of C6 rat glioblastoma cells with a plasmid from which an RNA is transcribed that codes for the third strand of a potential triple helix. We tested the ability of this expression vector to inhibit IGF-I gene expression in vitro as well as tumorigenesis in an animal. A dramatic reduction of IGF-I RNA and protein levels in cultured cells occurred following transfection of rat C6 cells with a eukaryotic expression plasmid encoding the oligopurine variant of the triple helix but not the oligopyrimidine or a control sequence. The cells transfected with the oligopurine variant displayed morphological changes, upregulation of major histocompatibility complex I, and increased expression of protease nexin I. Dramatic inhibition of tumor growth occurred in nude mice following injection of transfected C6 cells. To our knowledge, this is the first example of tumor growth inhibition in an animal model employing a triple helix approach.