Using a 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA)-photodynamic therapy model, we have discovered a new effect of nitric oxide (NO)—the ability to accommodate apoptosis. When sensitized by disseminated ALA-generated protoporphyrin IX, COH-BR1 tumor cells in glucose-containing medium died mainly by necrosis with a low level of apoptosis. Introduced before light at a nontoxic concentration, the NO donor SPNO inhibited necrosis, but supported apoptosis such that the latter became predominant in the remaining cell death. Accompanying this was a large increase in caspase-3/7 activation. SPNO-supported apoptosis was more pronounced when glucose-deprived cells were compared with glucose-replenished, SPNO-treated counterparts. SPNO plus glucose also suppressed plasma membrane-damaging lipid peroxidation and loss of cellular ATP under photostress. The NO effect is attributed to membrane protection with maintenance of sufficient glycolytic ATP to sustain apoptosis.