Antioxidant enzymes are critical in oxidative stress responses. Radioresistant variants isolated from MCF-7 human carcinoma cells following fractionated ionizing radiation (MCF+FIR cells) or overexpression of manganese superoxide dismutase (MCF+SOD cells) demonstrated dose-modifying factors at 10% isosurvival of 1.8 and 2.3, respectively. MCF+FIR and MCF-7 cells (exposed to single-dose radiation) demonstrated 5- to 10-fold increases in MnSOD activity, mRNA, and immunoreactive protein. Radioresistance in MCF+FIR and MCF+SOD cells was reduced following expression of antisense MnSOD. DNA microarray analysis and immunoblotting identified p21, Myc, 14-3-3 zeta, cyclin A, cyclin BI, and GADD153 as genes constitutively overexpressed (2- to 10-fold) in both MCF+FIR and MCF+SOD cells. Radiation-induced expression of these six genes was suppressed in fibroblasts from Sod2 knockout mice (-/-) as well as in MCF+FIR and MCF+SOD cells expressing antisense MnSOD. Inhibiting NF-κB transcriptional activity in MCF+FIR cells, by using mutant IκBα, inhibited radioresistance as well as reducing steady-state levels of MnSOD, 14-3-3 zeta, GADD153, cyclin A, and cyclin B1 tmRNA. In contrast, mutant IκBα was unable to inhibit radioresistance or reduce 14-3-3 zeta, GADD153, cyclin A, and cyclin B1 mRNAs in MCF+SOD cells, where MnSOD overexpression was independent of NF-κB. These results support the hypothesis that NF-κB is capable of regulating the expression of MnSOD, which in turn is capable of increasing the expression of genes that participate in radiation-induced adaptive responses.