The cysteinyl leukotriene(1) (CysLT(1)) receptor (CysLT(1)R) enhances survival and proliferation of intestinal cells via distinct pathways. Here, we have demonstrated that there is significant endogenous production of CysLTs from both non-tumour-and tumour-derived intestinal epithelial cells. Treatment of two non-tumour cell lines, Int 407 and IEC-6, with CysLT1R antagonists led to shrinkage and detachment of cells, confirmed as apoptotic cell death, and a dose-dependent reduction in proliferation. However, in the tumour intestinal cell lines Caco-2, SW480, HCT-116 and HT-29, treatment with CysLT1R antagonists significantly reduced proliferation, but had no effect on apoptosis. A unique characteristic of intestinal cancer cells is the presence of nuclear CysLT(1)Rs, which are inaccessible to receptor antagonists. In these cells, inhibition of the endogenous production of CysLTs indirectly, by 5-lipoxygenase inhibition, impaired CysLT1R signalling throughout the cell, and resulted in apoptosis of the tumour cells. These data reveal the existence of constitutive CysLT1R signalling that mediates both survival and proliferation in intestinal cells. Importantly, we propose that tumour-derived intestinal cells are resistant to CysLT(1)R antagonist-induced apoptosis, a phenomena that could be explained by nuclear CysLT1R signalling.