Background: Lung cancer causes the highest rate of cancer-related deaths both in men and women. As many current treatment modalities are inadequate in increasing patient survival, new therapeutic strategies are required. TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) selectively induces apoptosis in tumor cells but not in normal cells, prompting its current evaluation in a number of clinical trials. The successful therapeutic employment of TRAIL is restricted by the fact that many tumor cells are resistant to TRAIL. The goal of the present study was to test a novel combinatorial gene therapy modality involving adenoviral delivery of TRAIL (Ad5hTRAIL) and IKK inhibition (AdIKK beta KA) to overcome TRAIL resistance in lung cancer cells.