Fragile histidine triad (FHIT) gene is involved in the deletions at the 3p14.2 region in various cancers. We investigated the role of Fhit protein in cell growth by examining the signaling pathway affected by Fhit. We used 3 human colon cancer cell lines, SW480, DLD-1 and COLO201, in the study. SW480 cells, in which the expression of Fhit is completely absent, were transfected with pIRES1neo vector (SW/IRES cells), wild-type FHIT vector (SW/FHIT cells) or mt-FHIT (codon 96, His changed to Asn) vector (SW/mt-FHIT cells). The growth of SW/FHIT or SW/mt-FHIT cells was suppressed in comparison with that of parent or SW/IRES cells. Especially, the growth of SW/FHIT cells was considerably suppressed. On the other hand, the silencing of FHIT by an siRNA for it in SW/FHIT or DLD-1 cells harboring Fhit demonstrated that the growth of FHIT siRNA-treated cells was significantly enhanced in comparison with that of the vector control or nonspecific siRNA control. Thus, we found that Fhit negatively contributed to cell growth in the colon cancer cell lines. Moreover, SW/FHIT cells exhibited a higher sensitivity to oxidative stress evoked by inhibitors of mitochondrial electron transport or proteasomes compared with any of the control transfectants. The base line amount of phospho-IκB-α (p-IκB-α) was reduced in SW/FHIT cells compared with that in the other transfectants. On the contrary, the FHIT siRNA-treated SW/FHIT and DLD-1 cells exhibited an elevated p-IκB-α level in an RNAi experiment on FHIT. Perturbation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB signaling was strongly suggested by the fact that the wild-type Fhit expressants of SW480 cells tended to be sensitive to sulfasarazine or parthenolide, which are inhibitors of NF-κB. The time course of the level of IκB kinase (IKK) complex (IKKα/β, phospho-IKKα/β and IKKγ) after the treatment with TNF-α was similar between the transfectants. Although p-IκB-α and phospho-NF-κB p65 (p-NF-κB) in SW/FHIT cells responded to TNF-α as those in other transfectants, the increase in the levels of p-IκB-α and p-NF-κB after a 5-min treatment was less in SW/FHIT cells than in the other transfectants. These results altogether suggest that Fhit functions as an anti-oncoprotein by inhibiting the phosphorylation of IκB-α and thereby blocking NF-κB signaling.