The inhibitors of apoptosis (IAP) proteins have emerged as important cancer targets. The cellular control of IAP expression is regulated by survival signaling pathways and by a variety of known intrinsic antagonists. Among these antagonists, the X-linked IAP-associated factor (XAF)1 is unique in its control of IAP function and in its ability to sensitize cancer cells to apoptosis. Studies have demonstrated that XAF1 is strongly pro-apoptotic, is inducible by IFN and is a tumor suppressor. Thus, this antagonist may have significant value in the treatment of cancer.