eIF4E, the mRNA 5' cap-binding translation initiation factor, is overexpressed in numerous cancers and is implicated in mechanisms underlying oncogenesis and senescence. 4E-BPs (eIF4E-binding proteins) inhibit eIF4E activity, and thereby act as suppressors of eIF4E-dependent pathways. Here, we show that tumorigenesis is increased in p53 knockout mice that lack 4E-BP1 and 4E-BP2. However, primary fibroblasts lacking 4E-BPs, but expressing p53, undergo premature senescence and resist oncogene-driven transformation. Thus, the p53 status governs 4E-BP-dependent senescence and transformation. Intriguingly, the 4E-BPs engage in senescence via translational control of the p53-stabilizing protein, Gas2. Our data demonstrate a role for 4E-BPs in senescence and tumorigenesis and highlight a p53-mediated mechanism of senescence through a 4E-BP-dependent pathway.