Increased expression of survivin has been shown to be a negative predictor of survival in patients with soft-tissue sarcoma. We investigated 89 adults with soft-tissue sarcomas to ascertain the relation between co-expression of survivin and human telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) transcripts and prognosis. We quantified mRNA expression of survivin and TERT transcripts. Cox's proportional-hazards regression model showed co-expression of both genes to be a significant negative prognostic factor for patients with stage I to stage IV tumours (p=0 small middle dot0004; relative risk 20 small middle dot1, 95% CI 3 small middle dot8-106 small middle dot4) and for those at stage II and III (p=0 small middle dot0002; 42 small middle dot1, 6 small middle dot0-294 small middle dot9) compared with low expression of both genes. Co-expression of survivin and TERT transcripts identifies patients at high risk of tumour-related death.