Interleukin-8 (IL-8) is a pro-inflammatory chemokine that is associated with induction of chemotaxis and degranulation of neutrophils. IL-8 is overexpressed in many tumors, including colon and lung cancer, and recent studies demonstrated essential roles for IL-8 in tumor progression within the tumor microenvironment. However, the molecular mechanism underlying the functions of IL-8 in tumor progression is unclear. In this study, we found that IL-8 is overexpressed in colon and lung cancer cells with cancer stem cell (CSC)-like characteristics and is required for CSC properties, including tumor-initiating abilities. These findings suggest that IL-8 plays an essential role in the development of CSCs. We also showed that IL-8 stimulation of colon and lung cancer cells-induced glucose uptake and expressions of glucose transporter 3 (GLUT3) and glucosamine fructose-6-phosphate aminotransferase (GFAT), a regulator of glucose flux to the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway, resulting in enhancement of protein O-GlcNAcylation. We demonstrated that these events are required for the generation and maintenance CSC-like characteristics of colon and lung cancer cells. Moreover, an O-GlcNAcylation inhibitor, OSMI1, reduced CSC number and tumor development in vivo. Together, these results reveal that IL-8-induced O-GlcNAcylation is required for generation and maintenance of CSCs of colon and lung cancer cells and suggests this regulatory pathway as a candidate therapeutic target of CSCs.