Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a common malignancy in Southern China of uncertain etiologic origin. Diallyl trisulfide (DATS), one of the major components of garlic (Allium sativum), is highly bactericidal and fungicidal. In this study, we investigated the function of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and caspase-8 in DATS-induced apoptosis of human CNE2 cells using MTT [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide], flow cytometry assay, and Western blotting. After CNE2 cells were treated with DATS (50, 100, or 150 μM) for 24 h, cell viability rates were 75.9, 63.4 and 39.6%, and apoptosis rates were 24.5, 36.9, and 62.4%, respectively. The data showed that DATS induced CNE2 cell death in a dose-dependent manner. After human CNE2 cells were treated with 100 μM DATS and inhibitors (10 μM SB203580 and Z-LETD-FMK for p38MAPK and caspase-8, respectively), changes in cell viability and apoptosis and in p38MAPK and caspase-8 activity were detected. Cell viability rates were 66.5 and 68.1% and decreased 9.9 and 11.5% compared with inhibitor treatment alone. Apoptosis rates were 31.53 and 29.98% and increased 9.1 and 10% compared with inhibitor treatment alone. The results indicated that DATS activates p38MAPK and caspase-8, but both inhibitors have an effect on P38MAPK and caspase-8 activity. In conclusion, our data indicate that p38MAPK and caspase-8 are involved in the process of DATS-induced apoptosis in human CNE2 cells and interact with each other.