Death receptors of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor super family have been implicated in constitutive activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) in pancreatic cancer (PaC) cells. In this study, we demonstrate that fisetin, a natural flavonoid, induces apoptosis and inhibits invasion of chemoresistant PaC AsPC-1 cells through suppression of DR3-mediated NF-kappaB activation. Fisetin treatment resulted in dose-dependent inhibition of PaC cell growth and cell proliferation with concomitant induction of apoptosis. A cDNA array analysis revealed that fisetin modulates expression of more than 20 genes at transcription level with maximum decrease observed in DR3 expression and a parallel increase observed in the expression levels of IkappaBalpha, an NF-kappaB inhibitor. Down-regulation of DR3 in PaC cells was found to down regulate activated pNF-kappaB/p65, pIkBalpha/beta kinases (pIKK's), MMP9 and XIAP that mostly impart chemoresistance in PaC. Immunoblotting and EMSA analysis showed a marked decrease in pNF-kappaB and NF-kappaB DNA binding activity, respectively, with modest decrease in NF-kappaB promoter activity and significant decrease in MMP9 promoter activity with fisetin treatment. Importantly, consistent with these findings, we further found that transient down-regulation of DR3 by RNA interference significantly augmented fisetin induced changes in cell proliferation, cell invasion and apoptosis paralleled with decrease in pNF-kappaB, pIKKalpha/beta, MMP9, XIAP and NF-kappaB DNA binding activity. Blocking of DR3 receptor with an extra cellular domain blocking antibody demonstrated similar effects. These data provide evidence that fisetin could provide a biological rationale for treatment of pancreatic cancer or as an adjuvant with conventional therapeutic regimens.