Members of the Src family kinases (SFK) can modulate diverse cellular processes, including division, death and survival, but their role in autophagy has been minimally explored. Here, we investigated the roles of Lyn, a SFK, in promoting the survival of human glioblastoma tumor (GBM) cells in vitro and in vivo using lentiviral vector-mediated expression of constitutively-active Lyn (CA-Lyn) or dominant-negative Lyn (DN-Lyn). Expression of either CA-Lyn or DN-Lyn had no effect on the survival of U87 GBM cells grown under nutrient-rich conditions. In contrast, under nutrient-deprived conditions (absence of supplementation with L-glutamine, which is essential for growth of GBM cells, and FBS) CA-Lyn expression enhanced survival and promoted autophagy as well as inhibiting cell death and promoting proliferation. Expression of DN-Lyn promoted cell death. In the nutrient-deprived GBM cells, CA-Lyn expression enhanced AMPK activity and reduced the levels of pS6 kinase whereas DN-Lyn enhanced the levels of pS6 kinase. Similar results were obtained in vitro using another cultured GBM cell line and primary glioma stem cells. On propagation of the transduced GBM cells in the brains of nude mice, the CA-Lyn xenografts formed larger tumors than control cells and autophagosomes were detectable in the tumor cells. The DN-Lyn xenografts formed smaller tumors and contained more apoptotic cells. Our findings suggest that on nutrient deprivation in vitro Lyn acts to enhance the survival of GBM cells by promoting autophagy and proliferation as well as inhibiting cell death, and Lyn promotes the same effects in vivo in xenograft tumors. As the levels of Lyn protein or its activity are elevated in several cancers these findings may be of broad relevance to cancer biology. © 2013 Liu et al.