Fanconi anemia (FA) is a rare syndrome characterized by developmental abnormalities, progressive bone marrow failure, and cancer predisposition. Cells from FA patients exhibit hypersensitivity to DNA cross-linking agents and oxidative stress that may trigger apoptosis. Damage-induced activation of caspases and poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) enzymes have been described for some of the FA complementation groups. Here, we show the constitutive activation of caspase-3 and PARP cleavage in the FA cells without exposure to exogenous DNA-damaging factors. These effects can be reversed in the presence of reactive oxygen species scavenger Nacetylcystein. We also show the accumulation of oxidized proteins in FA cells, which is accompanied by the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α oversecretion and the upregulation of early stress response kinases pERK1/2 and p-P38. Suppression of TNF-α secretion by the extracellular signal-regulated kinase inhibitor PD98059 results in reduction of caspase-3 cleavage, suggesting a possible mechanism of caspases-3 activation in FA cells. Thus, the current study is the first evidence demonstrating the damage-independent activation of caspase-3 and PARP in FA cells, which seems to occur through mitogen-activated protein kinase activation and TNF-α oversecretion. ©2010 AACR.