The response of cancer cells to apoptosis-inducing agents can be characterized by 2 opposing factors, the proapoptotic caspase cascade and the antiapoptotic stress protein Hsp70. We show here that these factors interact in U-937 leukemia cells induced to apoptosis with anticancer drugs, etoposide and adriamycin (ADR). The protective effect of Hsp70 was verified using 2 approaches: mild heat stress and transfection-mediated overexpression of the Hsp70 gene. The increase in Hsp70 levels attained by these 2 methods was found to postpone caspase activation for 12–18 hours. An in vitro assay was developed using mouse myeloma NS0/1 cells, which lack the expression of Hsp70. Measurement of DEVD-ase activity in extracts of apoptotic NS0/1 cells incubated with purified Hsp70 showed that Hsp70 reduced caspase activity by up to 50% of its control value in a dose-dependent manner. The hypothesis that the inhibitory effect of Hsp70 on caspase-3/7 activity related to a direct interaction between Hsp70 and the caspases was tested by reciprocal immunoprecipitations and Far-western analyses. These tests were performed with extracts of Hsp70-overexpressing, control, and ADR-treated U-937 cells and using anti–caspase-3, caspase-7, and anti-Hsp70 antibodies, and the data clearly showed that Hsp70 was able to interact with the proforms of these caspases in cell lysates and with reconstituted purified proteins but did not bind the activated forms of either caspase-3 or -7. This association was also corroborated by a novel, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay–like assay, protein interaction assay, that combined the advantages of immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting in a 96-well microplate–based assay. Thus, Hsp70 may act to suppress caspase-dependent apoptotic signaling through binding the precursor forms of both caspase-3 and caspase-7 and preventing their maturation.