Oncostatin M (OSM) is an interleukin-6 (IL-6) type cytokine originally described by its capacity to inhibit melanoma proliferation in vitro. Here, the mechanisms involved in resistance to growth inhibition by OSM were analysed for the first time on a large panel of metastatic melanoma cell lines. OSM resistance did not strictly correlate with IL-6, interferon-gamma or tumor necrosis factor-alpha resistance. Rather, it correlated with a specific loss of the OSM receptor-beta (OSMRbeta) subunit, in conjunction with a lower level of histone acetylation in the OSMRbeta promoter region. Treatment of various OSM-resistant melanoma cells with the histone deacetylase inhibitor Trichostatin A increased activity and histone acetylation of the OSMRbeta promoter as well as expression of OSMRbeta mRNA and protein, allowing OSM to activate the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and to inhibit proliferation. Other defects associated with OSM resistance were identified at the level of OSMRbeta transcription or protein expression, as well as downstream of or parallel to STAT3 activation. Altogether, our results suggest a role for OSM in the prevention of melanoma progression and that metastatic melanoma cells could escape this growth control by the epigenetic silencing of OSMRbeta.