CpG-oligodeoxynucleotide (CpG-ODN) can function as an immune adjuvant. Previously, we showed that stimulation of breast cancer cells with CpG-ODN conjugated with PAMAM dendrimer-coated magnetic nanoparticles (DcMNPs) has induced apoptosis. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the expression levels of some apoptosis-regulating genes in several human breast cancer cells treated with CpG/DcMNPs. Treated MDA-MB231 cells showed an increase in Noxa and Bax gene expression levels, whereas the expression level of Survivin decreased. Similarly, Noxa gene was overexpressed in treated MCF7 cells. In treated SKBR3 cells, a decline in the c-Flip mRNA level was determined. Furthermore, release of cytokines, IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-alpha, was determined in cell culture supernatants. CpG/DcMNP treatment leads to an increase in the release of IL-6 in MDA-MB231 and SKBR3 cells, whereas release of IL-10 and TNF-alpha did not change significantly. It is indicated that CpG-ODN may show its cytotoxic effect by regulating the expression of apoptosis-related genes and the release of cytokine in breast cancer cells. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.