Chemotherapy and rituximab (R) is current standard therapy in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), but a substantial proportion of patients still fail to reach sustained remission. In vitro studies have indicated that rituximab resistance could be accompanied by dysregulated apoptotic pathways, such as the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT signaling pathway, which can be constitutively activated in DLBCL. In this retrospective, immunohistochemical study on 106 patients treated with R-CHO(E)P (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone, rituximab [+etoposide]), we investigated the prognostic role of proteins involved in different apoptotic pathways; phosphorylated AKT (p-AKT), bcl-2, MCL1, bcl-xL, Bax and Bak. High p-AKT expression (>108 cells/mm2, highest quartile, n=27) predicted worse progression-free (PFS) (P=0.02) and overall (OS) (P=0.01) survival, independent of International Prognostic Index and sex. Also bcl-2+ (cut-off 50%) predicted worse PFS (P=0.005) and OS (P=0.05) but after adjustment for clinical factors only the influence on PFS (P=0.03) remained significant. The prognostic impact of p-AKT overexpression was independent of bcl-2 status. MCL1, bcl-xL, Bax and Bak expression did not add any prognostic information. Our results suggest that high p-AKT expression predicts worse outcome, possibly indicating that inhibition of the activated PI3K/AKT pathway could be of clinical interest in DLBCL patients. In addition, bcl-2 status could have prognostic importance also in the era of immunochemotherapy.