Failure to perform the Fas-related apoptosis pathway can account for tumor resistance both to chemotherapeutic agents and to immunological effectors. We studied the role of NK-kappaB in Fas-resistance, employing the Fas-sensitive human T-lymphoma HuT78 cell line and its Fas-resistant variants HuT78B1 and HuT78G9. All these cell lines expressed high levels of constitutively activated NF-kappaB. Pretreatment of cells with NF-kappaB inhibitors (PDTC, MG132, or SN50) strongly enhanced CH11-induced apoptosis in HuT78 and Hut78G9 cells, while only MG132 showed a similar potentiating effect in HuT78B1. The described synergism was significantly inhibited by pretreatment with the anti-Fas-blocking antibody ZB4 or with the pancapsase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK, but not by capsase-8 or -9 inhibitors. Overall, these data suggest that NF-kappaB inhibition may restore the Fas-pathway in Fas-resistant NF-kappaB-overexpressing tumors.