NF-kappaB is activated by DNA-damaging anticancer drugs as part of the cellular stress response. However, the consequences of drug-induced NF-kappaB activation are still only partly understood. To investigate the impact of NF-kappaB on the cell's response to DNA damage, we engineered glioblastoma cells that stably express mutant IkappaBalpha superrepressor (IkappaBalpha-SR) to block NF-kappaB activation. Here, we identify a novel pro-apoptotic function of NF-kappaB in the DNA damage response in glioblastoma cells. Chemotherapeutic drugs that intercalate into DNA and inhibit topoisomerase II such as Doxorubicin, Daunorubicin and Mitoxantrone stimulate NF-kappaB DNA binding and transcriptional activity prior to induction of cell death. Importantly, specific inhibition of drug-induced NF-kappaB activation by IkappaBalpha-SR or RNA interference against p65 significantly reduces apoptosis upon treatment with Doxorubicin, Daunorubicin or Mitoxantrone. NF-kappaB exerts this pro-apoptotic function especially after pulse drug exposure as compared to continuous treatment indicating that the contribution of NF-kappaB becomes relevant during the recovery phase following the initial DNA damage. Mechanistic studies show that NF-kappaB inhibition does not alter Doxorubicin uptake and efflux or cell cycle alterations. Genetic silencing of p53 by RNA interference reveals that NF-kappaB promotes drug-induced apoptosis in a p53-independent manner. Intriguingly, drug-mediated NF-kappaB activation results in a significant increase in DNA damage prior to the induction of apoptosis. By demonstrating that NF-kappaB promotes DNA damage formation and apoptosis upon pulse treatment with DNA intercalators, our findings provide novel insights into the control of the DNA damage response by NF-kappaB in glioblastoma.