The loss of integrin-mediated cell-matrix contact induces apoptosis ('anoikis') in certain cell types. Recently it has been shown that protein kinase signaling pathways control anoikis both positively and negatively. Focal adhesion kinase, when activated by integrins, can suppress anoikis. Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and the AKT oncoprotein may mediate the anoikis-suppressing effects of focal adhesion kinase. Conversely, the stress-activated protein kinase/Jun amino-terminal kinase pathway promotes anoikis. Latest results indicate that caspase-mediated cleavage of the first component of this latter pathway, MEKK-1, may trigger activation of this pathway in anoikis. In addition, certain integrins may regulate bcl-2 expression levels, possibly adjusting the threshold for anoikis.