Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is highly resistant to chemotherapy, leading to a poor prognosis of advanced disease. Inhibitors of histone deacetylase (HDACi) induce re-differentiation in tumor cells and thereby re-establish sensitivity towards apoptotic stimuli. HDACi are entering the clinical stage of tumor treatment, and several substances are currently being tested in clinical trials to prove their efficacy in the treatment of leukemias and solid tumors. In this study, we investigated the impact of the HDACi valproic acid (VA) on TRAIL- and CD95-mediated apoptosis in hepatoma cells, as well as its sensitizing effect on a chemotherapeutic agent. Treatment of HepG2 cells with VA increased sensitivity to CD95-mediated apoptosis (4% apoptosis vs. 42%), and treatment with epirubicin (74% vs. 90% viability). Caspase-3 activity was significantly enhanced in cells treated with VA plus anti-CD95 antibodies compared to cells treated with antibodies alone. In parallel, VA strongly augmented the effect of TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL or Apo2 ligand) on HepG2 cells (10% vs. 58% apoptosis). VA induced down-regulation of cellular FLICE-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP/CASH, also known as Casper/iFLICE/FLAME-1/CLARP/MRIT/usurpin), providing a possible molecular mechanism underlying the increased sensitivity towards cell death-mediated apoptosis. HDAC inhibitors are a promising class for the treatment of leukemias. In addition, among other class members, VA deserves further evaluation as a treatment option for patients with advanced HCC.