Bortezomib (PS-341), a selective inhibitor of proteasome, induces apoptosis in various tumor cells, but its mechanism of action is unclear. Treatment with PS-341 induces apoptosis in SUDHL6 (DHL6), but not SUDHL4 (DHL4), lymphoma cells. Microarray analysis shows high RNA levels of heat shock protein-27 (Hsp27) in DHL4 versus DHL6 cells, which correlates with Hsp27 protein expression. Blocking Hsp27 using an antisense strategy restores the apoptotic response to PS-341 in DHL4 cells; conversely, ectopic expression of wild-type Hsp27 renders PS-341-sensitive DHL6 cells resistant to PS-341. These findings provide the first evidence that Hsp27 confers PS-341 resistance.