Commonly used regimens in cancer therapy rely on the induction of apoptotic cell death, and drug resistance can be attributed, at least in part, to a disabled apoptotic program. Non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC), exhibit an intrinsic resistance to chemotherapy. Here, we show that co-treatment with etoposide (VP16) and the pan-histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA), but not valproic acid (VPA), induced apoptotic cell death in drug-resistant NSCLC cells. Co-treatment, but not single treatment, with VP16 and TSA induced apoptosis in a caspase-dependent manner accompanied by a crucial decrease in Bcl-xL expression allowing Bax activation and subsequent initiation of the apoptosis inducing factor (AIF)-dependent death pathway. Importantly, AIF proved to be required for the effects of TSA/VP16 as RNA knockdown of AIF resulted in a complete abolishment of TSA/VP16-induced apoptotic cell death in drug-resistant NSCLC cells. Our results thus provide evidence for the requirement of both caspase-dependent and caspase-independent apoptotic pathways in TSA/VP16-mediated death of drug-resistant NSCLC cells, and extend previous suggestions that HDAC inhibitors in combination with conventional chemotherapeutic drugs could be valuable in the treatment of NSCLC cancer and other malignancies in which Bcl-xL is overexpressed.