This study reports the successful growth suppression of a rat glioblastoma model (RT-2) both in vitro and in vivo by the insertion of p21(WAF1/CIP1), a negative cell cycle regulatory gene, into the tumor cells. Greater than 95% of the tumor cells expressed p21 protein after being infected with pCL based p21 retrovirus at 4x M.O.I. (multiplicity of infection). The p21-infected cells showed a 91% reduction in colony forming efficiency and a 66% reduction in growth rate. More prominent p21 staining was found in cells exhibiting histologic evidence of senescence. Intracranial implantation of the infected cells showed complete disappearance of the p21-infected cells at day 10 and long-term survival of the animals compared to controls. Injection of pCLp21 virus into tumor established in situ showed tumor necrosis and gene expression. In a clonogenic radiation survival assay, a 93% reduction of surviving colonies of p21-infected cells was seen in comparison to vector-infected control cells and to p53-infected cells after exposure to 8 Gy (800 rads).