Tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL/Apo2L) is a death protein that preferentially kills tumour cells while sparing normal cells. TRAIL has four exclusive receptors, two of which (TRAIL-R1, TRAIL-R2) are death receptors. Both TRAIL/Apo2L and agonistic antibodies to the TRAIL death receptors are currently being explored for cancer therapy. Although the activity of TRAIL/Apo2L in a variety of haematological malignancies has been examined, the activity of anti-TRAIL receptor agonistic antibodies in primary and cultured lymphoma cells has not. Using two fully human selective agonistic monoclonal antibodies to the TRAIL death receptors TRAIL-R1 (HGS-ETR1) and TRAIL-R2 (HGS-ETR2) this study demonstrated that both monoclonal antibodies activated caspase-8 and induced cell death in five of nine human lymphoma cell lines, and induced >10% cell death in 67% and 70%, respectively, of 27 primary lymphoma cells, and >20% cell death in at least one-thirds of the samples. HGS-ETR1 and HGS-ETR2 demonstrated comparable activity in the fresh tumour samples, which was independent of TRAIL receptor surface expression, Bax, cFLIP, or procaspase-8 expression, or exposure to prior therapy. Furthermore, both antibodies enhanced the killing effect of doxorubicin and bortezomib. Our data demonstrate that HGS-ETR1 and HGS-ETR2 monoclonal antibodies can induce cell death in a variety of cultured and primary lymphoma cells, and may have therapeutic value in lymphoma.