In order to investigate the mechanism of radio-sensitization by an Hsp90 inhibitor 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG), we studied repair of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) in irradiated human cells pre-treated with 17-AAG. DSBs are thought to be the critical target for radiation-induced cell death. Two human tumor cell lines DU145 and SQ-5 which showed clear radio-sensitization by 17-AAG revealed a significant inhibition of DSB repair, while normal human cells which did not show radio-sensitization by the drug indicated no change in the DSB repair kinetics with 17-AAG. We further demonstrated that BRCA2 was a novel client protein for Hsp90, and 17-AAG caused the degradation of BRCA2 and in turn altered the behavior of Rad51, a critical protein for homologous recombination (HR) pathway of DSB repair. Our data demonstrate for the first time that 17-AAG inhibits the HR repair process and could provide a new therapeutic strategy to selectively result in higher tumor cell killing.