Although Rat-1 fibroblasts expressing c-myc constitutively are unable to arrest growth in low serum, their numbers do not increase in culture because of substantial cell death. We show this cell death to be dependent upon expression of c-myc protein and to occur by apoptosis. Regions of the c-myc protein required for induction of apoptosis overlap with regions necessary for cotransformation, autoregulation, and inhibition of differentiation, suggesting that the apoptotic function of c-myc protein is related to its other functions. Moreover, cells with higher levels of c-myc protein are more prone to cell death upon serum deprivation. Finally, we demonstrate that deregulated c-myc expression induces apoptosis in cells growth arrested by a variety of means and at various points in the cell cycle.