In the present study, we determined the molecular pathways that induce the heat shock proteins (Hsps) after treatment of cells with arsenic trioxide. Administration of arsenic trioxide to MDA231 cells leads to induce Hsp70, which is accompanied by generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). We showed that arsenic trioxide-induced Hsp70 expression was caused by activation of ROS and prevented by the antioxidant N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC). SP600125 and dominant-negative SEK suppressed Hsp70 promoter-driven reporter gene expression, suggesting that JNK would be preferentially associated with the protective heat shock response against arsenic trioxide stress. In addition, SP600125, a specific JNK inhibitor, significantly reduced the amount of phosphorylated HSF1 upon administration of arsenic trioxide. It is likely that Hsp70 expression against arsenic trioxide exposure protects cells from oxidative injury and apoptotic cell death by means of JNK activity.