Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and Fas ligand (FasL) have been implicated in antitumor immunity and therapy. In the present study, we investigated the sensitivity of Philadelphia chromosome (Ph1)-positive leukemia cell lines to TRAIL- or FasL-induced cell death to explore the possible contribution of these molecules to immunotherapy against Ph1-positive leukemias. TRAIL, but not FasL, effectively induced apoptotic cell death in most of 5 chronic myelogenous leukemia-derived and 7 acute leukemia-derived Ph1-positive cell lines. The sensitivity to TRAIL was correlated with cell-surface expression of death-inducing receptors DR4 and/or DR5. The TRAIL-induced cell death was caspase-dependent and enhanced by nuclear factor kappa B inhibitors. Moreover, primary leukemia cells from Ph1-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients were also sensitive to TRAIL, but not to FasL, depending on DR4/DR5 expression. Fas-associated death domain protein (FADD) and caspase-8, components of death-inducing signaling complex (DISC), as well as FLIP (FLICE [Fas-associating protein with death domain-like interleukin-1-converting enzyme]/caspase-8 inhibitory protein), a negative regulator of caspase-8, were expressed ubiquitously in Ph1-positive leukemia cell lines irrespective of their differential sensitivities to TRAIL and FasL. Notably, TRAIL could induce cell death in the Ph1-positive leukemia cell lines that were refractory to a BCR-ABL-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib mesylate (STI571; Novartis Pharma, Basel, Switzerland). These results suggested the potential utility of recombinant TRAIL as a novel therapeutic agent and the possible contribution of endogenously expressed TRAIL to immunotherapy against Ph1-positive leukemias.