PURPOSE: Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been shown to exist chemo preventive activity against colon cancers. In this study, we examined whether salicylate affects the survival of A549 cells, and investigated the presence of apoptosis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We used A549 human lung cancer cell line. The measurement of cytotoxic concentration of salicylate was performed by MTT assay method. In order to test the involvement of apoptosis, we performed TUNEL assay, DAPI staining, flow cytometric analysis and RT-PCR. RESULTS: We showed that salicylate can potently induce apoptosis in A549 cells. A549 cells under went apoptosis in treatment with salicylate at pharmacological concentration (5 mM). CONCLUSION: Herein, our data provide a potential mechanism for chemopreventive activity of salicylate and suggest that salicylate may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of lung cancer.