Background: Although NGLY1 is known as a pivotal enzyme that catalyses the deglycosylation of denatured glycoproteins, information regarding the responses of human cancer and normal cells to NGLY1 suppression is limited. Methods: We examined how NGLY1 expression affects viability, tumour growth, and responses to therapeutic agents in melanoma cells and an animal model. Molecular mechanisms contributing to NGLY1 suppression-induced anticancer responses were revealed by systems biology and chemical biology studies. Using computational and medicinal chemistry-assisted approaches, we established novel NGLY1-inhibitory small molecules. Results: Compared with normal cells, NGLY1 was upregulated in melanoma cell lines and patient tumours. NGLY1 knockdown caused melanoma cell death and tumour growth retardation. Targeting NGLY1 induced pleiotropic responses, predominantly stress signalling-associated apoptosis and cytokine surges, which synergise with the anti-melanoma activity of chemotherapy and targeted therapy agents. Pharmacological and molecular biology tools that inactivate NGLY1 elicited highly similar responses in melanoma cells. Unlike normal cells, melanoma cells presented distinct responses and high vulnerability to NGLY1 suppression. Conclusion: Our work demonstrated the significance of NGLY1 in melanoma cells, provided mechanistic insights into how NGLY1 inactivation leads to eradication of melanoma with limited impact on normal cells, and suggested that targeting NGLY1 represents a novel anti-melanoma strategy.