"Oncogene addiction" describes an unexplained dependency of cancer cells on a particular cellular pathway for survival or proliferation. We report that differential attenuation rates of prosurvival and proapoptotic signals in oncogene-dependent cells contribute to cell death following oncogene inactivation. Src-, BCR-ABL-, and EGF receptor-dependent cells exhibit a similar profile of signal attenuation following oncogene inactivation characterized by rapid diminution of phospho-ERK, -Akt, and -STAT3/5, and a delayed accumulation of the proapoptotic effector phospho-p38 MAPK. These findings implicate a transient imbalance in survival and apoptotic oncogenic outputs in the apoptotic response to oncogene inactivation. Moreover, these observations implicate a common profile of signal attenuation for multiple oncogenes and suggest that "addiction" associated with apoptosis reflects an active rather than a passive process.