Neuroblastoma (NB) is a childhood neoplasm which heterogeneous behavior can be explained by differential regulation of apoptosis. Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) selectively induces rapid apoptosis in most tumor cells and thus represents a promising anticancer agent. We have reported silencing of caspase-8 expression in highly malignant NB cells as a possible mechanism of resistance to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. To explore the particular contribution of caspase-8 in such resistance, retroviral-mediated stable caspase-8 expression was induced in the IGR-N91 cells. As a result, sensitivity to TRAIL was fully restored in the caspase-8-complemented cells. TRAIL-induced cell death could be further enhanced by cotreatment of IGR-N91-C8 and SH-EP cells with cycloheximide or subtoxic concentrations of chemotherapeutic drugs in a caspase-dependent manner. Sensitization to TRAIL involved enhanced death receptor DR5 expression, activation of Bid and the complete caspases cascade. Interestingly, combined treatments also enhanced the cleavage-mediated inactivation of antiapoptotic molecules, XIAP, Bcl-x(L) and RIP. Our results show that restoration of active caspase-8 expression in a caspase-8-deficient NB cell line is necessary and sufficient to fully restore TRAIL sensitivity. Moreover, the synergistic effect of drugs and TRAIL results from activation of the caspase cascade via a mitochondrial pathway-mediated amplification loop and from the inactivation of apoptosis inhibitors.