© 2017 The Author(s). G-quadruplex (G4) is a higher-order nucleic acid structure that is formed by guanine-rich sequences. G4 stabilization by small-molecule compounds called G4 ligands often causes cytotoxicity, although the potential medicinal impact of this effect has not been fully established. Here we demonstrate that a synthetic G4 ligand, Y2H2-6M(4)-oxazole telomestatin derivative (6OTD), limits the growth of intractable glioblastoma (grade IV glioma) and glioma stem cells (GSCs). Experiments involving a human cancer cell line panel and mouse xenografts revealed that 6OTD exhibits antitumor activity against glioblastoma. 6OTD inhibited the growth of GSCs more potently than it did the growth of differentiated non-stem glioma cells (NSGCs). 6OTD caused DNA damage, G1 cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis in GSCs but not in NSGCs. These DNA damage foci tended to colocalize with telomeres, which contain repetitive G4-forming sequences. Compared with temozolomide, a clinical DNA-alkylating agent against glioma, 6OTD required lower concentrations to exert anti-cancer effects and preferentially affected GSCs and telomeres. 6OTD suppressed the intracranial growth of GSC-derived tumors in a mouse xenograft model. These observations indicate that 6OTD targets GSCs through G4 stabilization and promotion of DNA damage responses. Therefore, G4s are promising therapeutic targets for glioblastoma.