Temozolomide (TMZ) is an alkylating agent used for the treatment of glioblastoma. The late autophagy inhibitor chloroquine (CQ) inhibits glioblastoma tumors in a p53-independent and p53-dependent manner. We addressed a possible beneficial effect of combination treatment with TMZ and CQ by examining the molecular and cellular mechanism of co-treatment. Combination treatment of U87 cell (wild type p53) with TMZ and CQ synergistically reduced cell proliferation and enhanced apoptosis, with increased sub-G1 hypodiploid cells and caspase activation. This effect was abolished by a pan-caspase inhibitor, Z-VAD-FMK. TMZ induced autophagy, and the addition of CQ further increased autophagic vacuoles. Inhibition of early stages of autophagy by Beclin 1 knockdown and 3-methyladenine pretreatment prevented the enhanced effect of the combination treatment. The combination treatment also upregulated p53 and phospho-p53 levels, whereas p53 knockdown or overexpression of mutant p53 abolished the combination effect. In contrast, combination therapy had no enhanced effect on U373 cell (mutant p53) proliferation and apoptosis within 3 d, although TMZ induced autophagy and co-treatment with CQ increased autophagic vacuole accumulation. However, long term combination treatment for 9-10 d effectively decreased clonal and cellular growth with increased G2-M arrest. This effect was also abolished by Beclin 1 knockdown. Our data support the beneficial effect of combination treatment with TMZ and CQ in glioma via differential autophagy-associated mechanisms, depending on p53 status.