Apoptosis may perpetuate some forms of inflammation. Of the apoptotic pathway proteins, Fas is particularly overexpressed in sarcoidosis. We hypothesized that Fas promoter single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) contribute to the development and severity of sarcoidosis. Associations of known Fas promoter SNPs (-670, -690 and -1377) and deduced haplotypes with sarcoidosis and sarcoidosis severity were evaluated using matched case-control (n = 656 pairs) and case-comparison (n = 656) studies, respectively, using conditional logistic regression. Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium was confirmed for all three polymorphisms in African-Americans (AA), and for the -670 and -1377 in whites. Genotype and allele frequencies were significantly different between whites and AA. Race-stratified analysis revealed that a common haplotype, -1377G/-690T/-670G, was associated with sarcoidosis [odds ratio (OR) = 1.78, P = 0.05] only in AA. The haplotype -1377G/-690C/-670A was negatively associated with sarcoidosis (OR = 0.39, P = 0.03) only in AA. In conclusion, the consistency of these findings suggests that Fas promoter genetic variants may be related to sarcoidosis disease risk in AA.