Colorectal cancers with mutations in the p53 gene have an invasive property, but its underlying mechanism is not fully understood. Through the screening of two data sets of the genome-wide expression profile, one for p53-introduced cells and the other for the numbers of cancer tissues, we report here X-linked ectodermal dysplasia receptor (XEDAR), a member of the TNFR superfamily, as a novel p53 target that has a crucial role in colorectal carcinogenesis. p53 upregulated XEDAR expression through two p53-binding sites within intron 1 of the XEDAR gene. We also found a significant correlation between decreased XEDAR expressions and p53 gene mutations in breast and lung cancer cell lines (P=0.0043 and P=0.0122, respectively). Furthermore, promoter hypermethylation of the XEDAR gene was detected in 20 of 20 colorectal cancer cell lines (100%) and in 6 of 12 colorectal cancer tissues (50%), respectively. Thus, the XEDAR expression was suppressed to <25% of surrounding normal tissues in 12 of 18 colorectal cancer tissues (66.7%) due to either its epigenetic alterations and/or p53 mutations. We also found that XEDAR interacted with and subsequently caused the accumulation of FAS protein, another member of p53-inducible TNFR. Moreover, XEDAR negatively regulated FAK, a central component of focal adhesion. As a result, inactivation of XEDAR resulted in the enhancement of cell adhesion and spreading, as well as resistance to p53-induced apoptosis. Taken together, our findings showed that XEDAR is a putative tumor suppressor that could prevent malignant transformation and tumor progression by regulating apoptosis and anoikis.