Recent studies indicate that post-translational protein neddylation is required for the maintenance of cell viability in several lymphoma cell lines, while inhibition of the neddylation pathway with an NEDD8-activating enzyme (NAE) inhibitor MLN4924 induces apoptosis in lymphoma cells. However, the mechanism by which neddylation inhibition induces apoptosis in lymphoma cells has not been fully elucidated. Moreover, it is unknown whether neddylation inhibition triggers non-apoptotic cell-killing responses, such as cell senescence, in lymphoma cells. Here, we report that MLN4924 specifically inhibited protein neddylation, inactivated cullin-RING E3 ligase (CRL), the best-known neddylation substrate, and induced the accumulation of tumor-suppressive CRL substrates in lymphoma cells. Moreover, MLN4924 potently suppressed the growth of lymphoma cells by inducing G2 cell-cycle arrest, followed by apoptosis or senescence in a cell line-dependent manner. MLN4924-induced apoptosis was mediated by intrinsic apoptotic signaling with substantial up-regulation of pro-apoptotic Bik and Noxa as well as down-regulation of anti-apoptotic XIAP, c-IAP1 and c-IAP2, while senescence induction upon neddylation inhibition seemed dependent on the expression of tumor suppressor p21/p27. Together, these findings expand our understanding on how lymphoma cells respond to neddylation inhibition and support the development of neddylation inhibitors (e.g. MLN4924) for the treatment of lymphoma.