Different defects in Fas/APO-1 interaction with its ligand or in signaling of apoptosis may contribute to autoimmune disease. The aim of this study was to examine whether elevated serum-soluble Fas (sFas) levels are associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or systemic sclerosis (SSc). sFas level was assayed using a sandwich ELISA in serum from 37 patients with RA, 30 patients with SSc and 20 healthy controls. The RA patients were classified according to disease activity, anatomical joint damage, and the presence of pulmonary involvement. Presence of pulmonary fibrosis, CO diffusion capacity (DLCO) and skin score were determined in patients with SSc. Serum sFas levels were not significantly different between study groups. Serum sFas level in the active RA patients was significantly higher than in the patients with inactive disease (p < 0.05). The untreated active RA patients had significantly higher sFas level than healthy controls (p < 0.05). In RA patients, sFas level was significantly correlated with rheumatoid factor titer (p = 0.01), C-reactive protein (p < 0.05), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (p < 0.05). The RA patients with severe joint damage had significantly higher sFas level than those with mild joint damage (p < 0.05). The untreated SSc patients had significantly higher sFas levels than the treated SSc patients and healthy controls (p < 0.01). Serum sFas level was not correlated with presence of pulmonary fibrosis, DLCO or skin score. The soluble Fas molecule may provide a useful additional marker for assessment of disease activity and severity in patients with RA.