In order to investigate the regulative function of telomerase and phosphorylated (activated) extracelluar regulated protein kinase (ERK) 1 and 2 in the leukemic cell lines HL-60 and K562 proliferation inhibition and apoptosis, three chemotherapeutic drugs Harringtonine(HRT), Vincristine(VCR) and Etoposide(Vp16) were selected as inducers. The proliferation inhibition rate was detected by MTT method, the cell cycle and cell apoptosis was analyzed by flow cytometry and the telomerase activity was detected by the telomeric repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) assay and bioluminescence analysis method. The phosphorylated ERK 1/2 protein expression was detected by western blot method. The results showed that HRT, VCR and Vp16 could inhibit cell proliferation, induce apoptosis, inhibit telomerase activity and down-regulate the protein expression of phosphorylated ERK. It was suggested that ERK signal transduction pathway was involved in the down-regulation of telomerase activity and the onset of apoptosis in the leukemic cells treated by HRT, VCR and Vp16.