Protein kinase casein kinase II (CK2) is increased in response to diverse growth stimuli, as well as being elevated in many human cancers examined. We have demonstrated that CK2 is a key survival factor that protects human colon carcinoma cells from TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis. We determined that inhibition of CK2 phosphorylation events by DRB (5,6-dichlorobenzimidazole) resulted in dramatic sensitization of tumor cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis, in the absence of effects in normal cells. Sensitization was caspase dependent, and independent of regulation via NF-kappaB. Further, inhibition of phosphorylation by CK2 did not modify the expression level of antiapoptotic proteins. Analysis of TRAIL-induced death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) formation demonstrated enhanced formation of the DISC, enhanced cleavage of caspase-8 and cleavage of Bid in the presence of DRB, thereby facilitating the release of proapoptotic factors from the mitochondria with subsequent downregulation of the expression of XIAP and c-IAP1. Further, silencing of CK2alpha in HT29 cells following transfection of CK2alpha shRNA abrogated CK2 kinase activity while simultaneously increasing TRAIL sensitivity. These findings demonstrate that CK2 plays a critical antiapoptotic role by conferring resistance to TRAIL at the level of the DISC.