Alterations in the expression of Fas (CD95/APO-1) and its ligand (FasL) have been demonstrated in various types of cancers as a mechanism for tumour cell to escape from the immune system. In the present study, we evaluated the expression of the Fas and FasL genes in a wide range of primary gynaecological carcinomas. These included 31 ovarian, 29 cervical and 25 endometrial carcinoma tissues as well as four ovarian and three cervical carcinoma cell lines. Our real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that down-regulation of Fas expression is more prominent than the up-regulation of FasL expression in all types of gynaecological cancer studied. This down-regulation of Fas expression was also true for the seven carcinoma cell lines. Only one cervical carcinoma cell line, DoT, exhibited a high level of FasL expression. These results indicated that down-regulation of Fas expression is a common abnormality in many types of cancers including gynaecological cancers, whereas an increase in FasL expression is not a common phenomenon in these cancers.