Overexpression of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins may play an important role in the aggressive behavior of prostate cancer cells and their resistance to therapy. The Bcl-2 homology 3 domain (BH3) is a uniquely important functional element within the pro-apoptotic class of the Bcl-2-related proteins, mediating their ability to dimerize with other Bcl-2-related proteins and promote apoptosis. The BH3 inhibitors (BH3Is) function by disrupting the interactions mediated by the BH3 domain between pro- and anti-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family and liberating more Bax/Bak to induce mitochondrial membrane permeabilization. LNCaP-derived C4-2 human prostate cancer cells are quite resistant to non-tagged, human recombinant soluble Apo2 ligand [Apo2L, also Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand, TRAIL], a tumor specific drug that is now in clinical trials. However, when Apo2L/TRAIL was combined with the Bcl-xL inhibitor, BH3I-2', it induced apoptosis synergistically through activation of Caspase-8 and the proapoptotic Bcl-2 family member Bid, resulting in the activation of effector Caspase-3 and proteolytic cleavage of Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, events that were blocked by the pan-caspase inhibitor zVAD-fmk. Our data indicate that, in combination with the BH3 mimetic, BH3I-2', Apo2L/TRAIL synergistically induces apoptosis in C4-2 human prostate cancer cells through both the extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways.