C-terminal binding protein 1 (CtBP1), a well-known transcriptional corepressor, functions as an oncogene in multiple cancer types, including osteosarcoma, by modulating the transcription of many tumor suppressors, such as cadherin 1 (CDH1), phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), Bcl2-associated X (Bax), Bcl-2-interacting mediator (Bim), and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1A (CDKN1A). However, it is still unclear how CtBP1 regulates the expression of these downstream targets. Here, we identified that CtBP1 is overexpressed in osteosarcoma cells and found that CtBP1 directly interacts with the transcription factor forkhead box O3 (FOXO3a) and the histone acetyltransferase p300 in vivo and in vitro. Through microarray analysis, we found that CtBP1 negatively regulates FOXO3a levels. In contrast to the CtBP1 level, the FOXO3a expression level was found to be significantly reduced in osteosarcoma cells. Knockdown of CtBP1 or overexpression of FOXO3a in U2OS cells resulted in different gene expression patterns, and the former caused upregulation of CtBP1 downstream target genes such as CDH1, PTEN, Bax, Bim, and CDKN1A, whereas the latter caused upregulation of Bax and Bim, but not CDH1, PTEN, and CDKN1A. Further analysis indicated that the CtBP1-p300-FOXO3a transcriptional complex specifically binds to the promoters of Bax and Bim. Inhibition of CtBP1 by the constitutive expression of Pep1-E1AWT peptide in U2OS and OSA cells reversed oncogenic phenotypes, including colony formation, cellular proliferation, and migration, and limited tumor growth in vivo. Together our results demonstrated that the CtBP1-p300-FOXO3a transcriptional complex represses the expression of the apoptotic regulators Bax and Bim in human osteosarcoma cells and that targeting CtBP1-mediated transcriptional events might be a potential therapeutic strategy for the osteosarcoma treatment. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.