Malignant melanoma is a prime example of cancers that respond poorly to various treatment modalities including chemotherapy. A number of chemotherapeutic agents have been shown recently to act by inducing apoptosis, a type of cell death antagonized by the bcl-2 gene. Human melanoma expresses Bcl-2 in up to 90% of all cases. In the present study we demonstrate that bcl-2 antisense oligonucleotide treatment improves the chemosensitivity of human melanoma grown in severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice. Our findings suggest that reduction of Bcl-2 in melanoma, and possibly also in a variety of other tumors, may be a novel and rational approach to improve chemosensitivity and treatment outcome.