Interleukins (ILs) are involved in the occurrence and development of numerous types of cancer, and serve a critical role in the development of effective cancer therapeutics. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of IL-27 on chemotherapy resistance in lung cancer cells, and analyze its potential molecular mechanism in lung cancer tissues. Western blot analysis and reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction were performed to examine the RNA and protein expression levels of IL-27. A Cell Counting Kit-8 assay was performed to evaluate the proliferation rates of the lung cancer line A549. Flow cytometry was subsequently applied to determine the rate of apoptosis in A549 cells. The data obtained revealed that the expression of IL-27 with cisplatin, significantly suppressed the proliferation and apoptosis of A549 cells compared with that in the cisplatin treatment group alone. The expression of Akt and apoptosis factors such as Caspase-3 and Bcl-2/Bax also ascertained that upregulated IL-27 inhibited the development of cancer and increased apoptosis in the A549 cells. Therefore, IL-27 may represent a potential target for antitumor therapy, especially when considering the clinical challenges presented by the development of chemoresistance in tumors. These findings suggest that IL-27 is a promising biomarker and represents a novel treatment strategy for patients with lung cancer.