Celecoxib is a cyclooxygenase 2-selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that exhibited therapeutic activity in cancer. In this study three malignant glioma, U87-MG, U251 and A172, were treated with celecoxib, tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) or the combination of both. Single treatment with celecoxib (25-100muM) for 24h resulted in a concentration-dependant decrease of cellular viability in U87-MG, U251 and A172. Combining subtoxic concentrations of celecoxib with TRAIL strongly increased cell death in human malignant glioma cells. After 8h treatment with celecoxib we found down-regulation of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein survivin that was mediated by proteasomal degradation. In addition, over-expression of survivin not only attenuated celecoxib-induced cytotoxicity but also cytotoxicity induced by the combination of celecoxib and TRAIL. Taken together, in malignant glioma survivin is a key regulator in celecoxib- and TRAIL-celecoxib-mediated cell death.