The nuclear transporter exportin-1 (XPO1) is highly expressed in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) cells, and is believed to be associated with the pathogenesis of this disease. XPO1-selective inhibitors of nuclear export (SINE) compounds have been shown to induce apoptosis in MCL cells. Given that p53 is a cargo protein of XPO1, we sought to determine the significance of p53 activation through XPO1 inhibition in SINE-induced apoptosis of MCL cells. We investigated the prognostic impact of XPO1 expression in MCL cells using Oncomine analysis. The significance of p53 mutational/functional status on sensitivity to XPO1 inhibition in cell models and primary MCL samples, and the functional role of p53-mediated apoptosis signaling, were also examined. Increased XPO1 expression was associated with poor prognosis in MCL patients. The XPO1 inhibitor KPT-185 induced apoptosis in MCL cells through p53-dependent and -independent mechanisms, and p53 status was a critical determinant of its apoptosis induction. The KPT-185-induced, p53-mediated apoptosis in the MCL cells occurred in a transcription-dependent manner. Exportin-1 appears to influence patient survival in MCL, and the SINE XPO1 antagonist KPT-185 effectively activates p53-mediated transcription and apoptosis, which would provide a novel strategy for the therapy of MCL.