Death ligands (such as Fas/CD95 ligand and TRAIL?Apo2L) and death receptors (such as Fas/CD95, TRAIL-R1?DR4, and TRAIL-R2/DR5) are involved in immune-mediated neutralization of activated or autoreactive lymphocytes, virus-infected cells, and tumor cells. Consequently, dysregulation of death receptor-dependent apoptotic signaling pathways has been implicated in the development of autoimmune diseases, immunodeficiency, and cancer. Moreover, the death ligand TRAIL has gained considerable interest as a potential anticancer agent, given its ability to induce apoptosis of tumor cells without affecting most types of untransformed cells. The FLICE-inhibitory protein (FLIP) potently blocks TRAIL-mediated cell death by interfering with caspase-8 activation. Pharmacologic down-regulation of FLIP might serve as a therapeutic means to sensitize tumor cells to apoptosis induction by TRAIL.