p53-Related genes, p73 and p63, encode 2 classes of proteins, TA-p73/p63 and DeltaN-p73/p63. TA-p73/p63 demonstrate p53-like properties including gene transactivation and cell death promotion, whereas DeltaN-p73/p63 lack these p53-like functions. Although p53-deficient cancer cells are often less responsive to chemotherapy, they are not completely drug resistant, suggesting that other apoptotic pathways are at work. Here, we compared for the first time to our knowledge p73 and p63 activation in various breast cancer (BC) cell lines after Adriamycin (ADR) treatment, an agent considered as mandatory in breast cancer chemotherapy. Our study was carried out using 1 p53-proficient BC cell line (MCF7 cells) and 3 BC cell lines deficient in p53 response (MCF7/ADR(IGR), MDA-MB157 and T47D) after ADR-induced genotoxic stress. We report that in cells with no p53 response after ADR treatment, TAp73, but not TAp63 or DeltaN-p73/p63, may replace p53 in triggering not only apoptosis but also cell cycle arrest or DNA repair effectors such as p21, GADD45, 14-3-3sigma and p53R2. We also demonstrate that TAp73 siRNA inhibits the accumulation of TAp73 in response to ADR treatment in MDA-MB157 cells and confers protection against ADR. ADR-induced downregulation of the DeltaNp73 isoform in the T47D cell line with nonfunctional mutant p53 further supports anti-apoptotic function of the isoform antagonistic to both p53 and TA-p73/p63. Exogenous TAp73 and DeltaNp73 overexpression in p53-response-deficient cell lines further confirms these results. cDNA microarray techniques demonstrated that the cellular response induced by p73 during ADR treatment could involve specific genes.