Tumor antigens such as MAGE-A1 are aberrantly expressed in many human tumors and could be recognized by CTL. Thus, they could be targets for cancer immunotherapy. It is presently considered that the expression of the MAGE-A1 gene is regulated by methylation of its promoter region. To estimate the possibility of activating the MAGE-A1 gene with demethylating agents with a view toward clinical use, we assessed the methylation status of its CpG-rich promoter by sodium bisulfite mapping both of samples that express the gene and those that do not. Cell lines and samples from patients with hematological malignancies were examined. Surprisingly, the methylation status of the MAGE-A1 gene did not clearly correlate with the expression of the gene. Our results indicate that the MAGE-A1 gene expression is not determined solely by the methylation status of the promoter region in hematological malignancies.