Sorafenib represents the current standard of care for patients with advanced-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, acquired drug resistance occurs frequently during therapy and is accompanied by rapid tumor regrowth after sorafenib therapy termination. To identify the mechanism of this therapy-limiting growth resumption, we established robust sorafenib resistance HCC cell models that exhibited mitochondrial dysfunction and chemotherapeutic crossresistance. We found a rapid relapse of tumor cell proliferation after sorafenib withdrawal, which was caused by renewal of mitochondrial structures alongside a metabolic switch toward high electron transport system (ETS) activity. The translation-inhibiting antibiotic tigecycline impaired the biogenesis of mitochondrial DNA-encoded ETS subunits and limited the electron acceptor turnover required for glutamine oxidation. Thereby, tigecycline prevented the tumor relapse in vitro and in murine xenografts in vivo. These results offer a promising second-line therapeutic approach for advanced-stage HCC patients with progressive disease undergoing sorafenib therapy or treatment interruption due to severe adverse events.