Molecular mechanism(s) responsible for drug resistance of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells to cisplatin was investigated. Results showed that cisplatin (50 μM)-induced cell death (apoptosis) was more significant in CH27 and A549 cell lines than in H460. The high protein levels of X-linked inhibitor-of-apoptosis protein (XIAP) observed in H460 cells appeared to play a key role in the regulation of cisplatin resistance of H460 cells. XIAP can bind to and suppress the activities of caspase 3 in H460 cells and lead to apoptosis inhibition of these cells. Blockade of XIAP activity by Embelin (XIAP inhibitor) or siRNA has increased caspase 3 activities and promoted cisplatin-induced cell death of H460 cells. The results indicate a therapeutic value of Embelin and/or XIAP siRNA in the control of cisplatin-resistant NSCLC cells (H460). © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.