Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a minimally invasive treatment for cancer and several noncancerous proliferating cell diseases. PDT relies on the uptake of a photosensitizing compound by the pathologic tissue followed by a selective irradiation with visible light, which leads to oxidative stress-mediated cell death. However, some studies showed that PDT induces the release of proangiogenic factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor, and/or cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), thereby promoting cancer cell regrowth following PDT. In this work, we focused on the molecular mechanisms regulating COX-2 expression after low-dose PDT in two cancer cell lines, namely HeLa and T24. We report that PDT induces COX-2 expression in these cells and this expression is mainly due to nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB)-dependent transcription of cox-2 gene without any post-transcriptional regulation. However, the transduction mechanism leading to NF-kappaB activation and subsequent cox-2 gene transcription differs in both cell types. In T24, NF-kappaB activation occurs through a protein kinase C (PKC)alpha- and phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K)-dependent I kappa B kinase (IKK) complex activation, whereas in HeLa cells, NF-kappaB activation is mediated by PKC- and PI3K-independent IKK complex activation.