We studied the response of ethylene-sensitive (Pusa Jai Kisan) and ethylene-insensitive (SS2) mustard (Brassica juncea) cultivars to 0, 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0mM SO42-, and the effect of 1.0mM SO42- was studied in the amelioration of 50μM cadmium (Cd). The Cd-induced oxidative stress and Cd accumulation were greater in SS2 than Pusa Jai Kisan, but sulfur (S) application alleviated Cd-induced oxidative stress more prominently in Pusa Jai Kisan by increasing S-metabolism and synthesis of reduced glutathione (GSH) and ethylene production; and promoted photosynthesis and plant dry mass under Cd stress. The ethylene-sensitive cultivar responded more to S treatment under Cd stress and showed increased activity of antioxidant system resulting in increased photosynthesis and growth. Cadmium treatment resulted in rapid increase in ethylene formation which adversely influenced photosynthesis and plant dry mass. However, S and ethephon application to Cd-treated plants lowered ethylene formation to optimal range responsible for maximal GSH synthesis and protection against Cd-induced oxidative stress. The similarity of the effectiveness of 1.0mM SO42- with 200μLL-1 ethylene source as ethephon in alleviation of 50μM Cd further verifies that differential alleviation of Cd toxicity in the two cultivars by S was dependent on ethylene production. The results suggest that ethylene production determines Cd stress alleviation by S via regulatory interaction with antioxidant metabolism. Thus, ethylene production and sensitivity bear a prominent role in alleviation of Cd stress by S and can be used as a criterion for developing Cd tolerant genotypes.