Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors are a class of promising anticancer reagents. They are able to induce apoptosis in embryonic carcinoma (EC) cells. However, the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. Here we show that increased expression of zinc-finger protein regulator of apoptosis and cell-cycle arrest (Zac1) is implicated in HDAC inhibitor-induced apoptosis in F9 and P19 EC cells. By chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis we identified that increased Zac1 expression is mediated by histone acetylation of the Zac1 promoter region. Knockdown of Zac1 inhibited HDAC inhibitor-induced cell apoptosis. Moreover, HDAC inhibitors repressed nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activity, and this effect is abrogated by Zac1 knockdown. Consistently, Zac1 overexpression suppressed cellular NF-κB activity. Further investigation showed that Zac1 inhibits NF-κB activity by interacting with the C-terminus of the p65 subunit, which suppresses the phosphorylation of p65 at Ser468 and Ser536 residues. These results indicate that Zac1 is a histone acetylation-regulated suppressor of NF-κB, which is induced and implicated in HDAC inhibitor-mediated EC cell apoptosis.