We recently reported that nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) promotes DNA damage-triggered apoptosis in glioblastoma, the most common brain tumor. In the present study, we investigated the role of NF-κB in death receptor-mediated apoptosis. Here, we identify a novel pro-apopotic function of NF-κB in TRAIL- and CD95-induced apoptosis. Inhibition of NF-κB by overexpression of the dominant-negative IκBα-superrepressor (IκBα-SR) significantly decreases tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)- or CD95-induced apoptosis. Vice versa, activation of NF-κB via overexpression of constitutively active IκB kinase complex (IKK)β (IKK-EE) significantly increases TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. Intriguingly, NF-κB inhibition reduces the recruitment of Fas-associated death domain and caspase-8 and formation of the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) upon stimulation of TRAIL receptors or CD95. This results in reduced TRAIL-mediated activation of caspases, loss of mitochondrial potential and cytochrome c release in IκBα-SR-expressing cells. In comparison, NF-κB inhibition strongly enhances TNF-α-mediated apoptosis. Comparative studies revealed that TNF-α rapidly stimulates transcriptional activation and upregulation of anti-apoptotic proteins, whereas TRAIL causes apoptosis before transcriptional activation. Thus, this study demonstrates for the first time that NF-κB exerts a pro-apoptotic role in TRAIL- and CD95-induced apoptosis in glioblastoma cells by facilitating DISC formation.