Cisplatin-selected cervix carcinoma HeLa cell lines induced less apoptosis, and weaker activation by cisplatin or Fas-activating antibody, of mitochondrial-associated caspase-9 and death receptor-mediated caspase-8 than did parental cells. Furthermore, less DISC (death-inducing signalling complex) was formed in cisplatin-selected cell lines than in parental cells. Ac-IETD-CHO (acetyl-Ile-Glu-Thr-Asp-aldehyde), which has a certain preference for inhibiting caspase-8, or Fas-antagonistic antibody, significantly inhibited cisplatin-induced apoptosis in both parental and cisplatin-selected HeLa cell lines. These results imply that cell-surface death signalling is inducible by cisplatin; that reduction of this pathway is associated with drug resistance, and that cisplatin-selected cells acquire cross-resistance to cell-surface death signalling. Sequential up-regulation of FLIP (FLICE-like inhibitory protein), but not Bcl-2, Bcl-x(L) or inhibitors of apoptosis protein (IAPs), was observed in resistant cells but not in parental cells. The inhibition of FLIP by FLIP antisense oligonucleotides promotes cisplatin and Fas-antibody-induced apoptosis. However, the modulation of apoptosis by FLIP antisense oligonucleotides in resistant cells is greater than that in parental cells. The presented data reveal that the up-regulation of FLIP may contribute to the suppression of apoptosis and thereby change cells that are resistant to cisplatin and Fas-mediated death signals. The results also show that cancer cells that have undergone long-term chemotherapy and become chemoresistant may change the FLIP level, becoming cross-resistant to death factors such as Fas.