This study was to investigated the effects of the bee venom on inhibition of cell growth via upregulation of death receptor expression in the A549 human lung cancer cells. Bee venom(1-5 ㎍/ml) inhibited the growth of A549 lung cancer cells by the induction of apoptotic cell death in a dose dependent manner. Consistent with apoptotic cell death, expression of TNFR1, Fas, death receptors(DR) 3, 4 and 6 was increased in the cells. Expression of DR downstream pro-apoptotic proteins including caspase-3, -9 and Bax was concomitantly increased, but the expression of Bcl-2, NF-kB were inhibited by treatment with bee venom in A549 cells. Moreover, deletion of DR3, DR4 by small interfering RNA significantly reversed bee venom-induced cell growth inhibitory effect, whereas Apo3L strengthened anti-proliferative effect of bee venom through enhancement of DR3 expression. These results suggest that bee venom should exert anti-tumor effect through induction of apoptotic cell death in lung cancer cells via enhancement of death receptor expression, and that bee venom could be a promising agent for preventing and treating lung cancer.