The DNA damage response (DDR) activates downstream pathways including cell cycle checkpoints. The cyclin D1 gene is overexpressed or amplified in many human cancers and is required for gastrointestinal, breast, and skin tumors in murine models. A common polymorphism in the human cyclin D1 gene is alternatively spliced, resulting in cyclin D1a and D1b proteins that differ in their carboxyl terminus. Cyclin D1 overexpression enhances DNA damage-induced apoptosis. The role of cyclin D1 and the alternative splice form in regulating the DDR is not well understood. Herein cyclin D1a overexpression enhanced the DDR as characterized by induction of γH2AX phosphorylation, the assembly of DNA repair foci, specific recruitment of DNA repair factors to chromatin, and G(2)-M arrest. Cyclin D1 deletion in fibroblasts or small interfering RNA-mediated reduction of endogenous cyclin D1 in colon cancer cells reduced the 5-fluorouracil-mediated DDR. Mechanistic studies showed that cyclin D1a, like DNA repair factors, elicited the DDR when stably associated with chromatin.