Amplification of the MycN oncogene characterizes a subset of highly aggressive neuroblastomas, the most common extracranial solid tumor of childhood. However, the significance of MycN amplification for tumor cell survival is controversial, since down-regulation of MycN was found to decrease markedly neuroblastoma sensitivity towards conventional anticancer drugs, cisplatin, and doxorubicin. Here, we show that a redox-silent analogue of vitamin E, α-tocopheryl succinate (α-TOS), which triggers apoptotic cell death via targeting mitochondria, can kill tumor cells irrespective of their MycN expression level. In cells overexpressing MycN, as well as cells in which MycN was switched off, α-TOS stimulated rapid entry of Ca(2+) into the cytosol, compromised Ca(2+) buffering capacity of the mitochondria and sensitized them towards mitochondrial permeability transition and subsequent apoptotic cell death. Prevention of mitochondrial Ca(2+) accumulation or chelation of cytosolic Ca(2+) rescued the cells. Thus, targeting mitochondria might be advantageous for the elimination of tumor cells with otherwise dormant apoptotic pathways.