The hdm-2 oncogene is overexpressed in several types of malignancies including osteosarcomas, soft tissue sarcomas and gliomas and hdm-2 has been associated with accelerated tumor formation in both hereditary and sporadic cancers. Among the other key binding partners, hdm-2 forms a complex with the tumor suppressor p53, resulting in a rapid proteasome-mediated degradation of the p53 protein. This positions the hdm-2-p53 complex as an attractive target for the development of anticancer therapy and recently the first small molecule hdm-2 antagonist has been reported. Development of hdm-2 antagonists is currently focused on malignancies containing a wild-type p53 genotype, which is the case in approximately half of human cancer indications. However, hdm-2 has also been implicated in oncogenesis in the absence of p53. We therefore studied the effect of hdm-2 antagonists in p53-deficient human H1299 lung carcinoma cells. The hdm-2 antagonistic peptide caused G1 cell cycle arrest, inhibited colony growth and induced expression of G1 checkpoint regulatory proteins, such as p21(waf1,cip1). These data demonstrate that hdm-2 regulates the G1 cell cycle checkpoint in a p53-independent manner, suggesting that hdm-2 antagonists represent a novel class of anticancer therapeutics with broad applicability towards tumors with different p53 genetic backgrounds.