PURPOSE: To investigate the flavopiridol effect on radiation-induced apoptosis and expression of apoptosis- related genes of human laryngeal and lung cancer cells. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A human laryngeal cancer cell line, AMC-HN3 and a human lung cancer cell line, NCI-H460, were used in the study. The cells were divided into four groups according to the type of treatment: 1) control groups; 2) cells that were only irradiated; 3) cells treated only with flavopiridol; 4) cells treated with flavopiridol and radiation simultaneously. The cells were irradiated with 10 Gy of X-rays using a 4 MV linear accelerator. Flavopiridol was administered to the media at a concentration of 100 nM for 24 hours. We compared the fraction of apoptotic cells of each group 24 hours after the initiation of treatment. The fraction of apoptotic cells was detected by measurement of the sub-G1 fractions from a flow cytometric analysis. The expression of apoptosis-regulating genes, including cleaved caspase-3, cleaved PARP (poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase), p53, p21, cyclin D1, and phosphorylated Akt (protein kinase B) were analyzed by Western blotting. RESULTS: The sub-G1 fraction of cells was significantly increased in the combination treatment group, as compared to cells exposed to radiation alone or flavopiridol alone. Western blotting also showed an increased expression of cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP expression in cells of the combination treatment group, as compared with cells exposed to radiation alone or flavopiridol alone. Treatment with flavopiridol down regulated cyclin D1 expression of both cell lines but its effect on p53 and p21 expression was different according to each individual cell line. Flavopiridol did not affect the expression of phophorylated Akt in both cell lines. CONCLUSION: Treatment with flavopiridol increased radiation-induced apoptosis of both the human laryngeal and lung cancer cell lines. Flavopiridol effects on p53 and p21 expression were different according to the individual cell line and it did not affect Akt activation of both cell lines.