Death induced by doxorubicin (dox) in neuroblastoma (NB) cells was originally thought to occur via the Fas pathway, however since studies suggest that caspase-8 expression is silenced in most high stage NB tumors, it is more probable that dox-induced death occurs via a different mechanism. Caspase-8 silenced N-type invasive NB cell lines LAN-1 and IMR-32 were investigated for their sensitivity to dox, and compared to S-type noninvasive SH-EP NB cells expressing caspase-8. All cell lines had similar sensitivities to dox, independently of caspase-8 expression. Dox induced caspase-3, -7, -8 and -9 and Bid cleavage in S-type cells and death was blocked by caspase inhibitors but not by oxygen radical scavenger BHA. In contrast, dox-induced death in N-type cells was caspase-independent and was inhibited by BHA. Dox induced a drop in mitochondrial membrane permeability in all cell lines. Dox-induced death in S-type cells gave rise to apoptotic nuclei, whereas in N-type cells nuclei were non-apoptotic in morphology. Transfection of SH-EP cells with a dominant negative FADD mutant inhibited TRAIL-induced death, but had no effect on dox-induced apoptosis. These results suggest that S-type cells undergo apoptosis after dox treatment independently of death receptors, whereas N-type cells are killed by a caspase-independent mechanism.