Astrocytic tumors frequently express Fas/APO-1 (Fas), in sharp contrast to surrounding normal brain cells, providing a potential window through which selective killing of tumor cells could be pursued. To assess this possibility, we transduced Fas into U251, a glioma cell line resistant to anti-Fas antibody-mediated apoptosis, and obtained transfectants with high levels of Fas expression. Anti-Fas antibody showed significantly enhanced cytotoxicity for the transfectants, suggesting that U251 cells maintained an intercellular cascade of Fas-mediated apoptosis. When U251 transfectants with high-level Fas expression were transduced with Fas ligand-encoding gene via retrovirus, they were unaffected by exposure to anti-Fas antibody or Fas ligand adenovirus (Adeno-FL). Thus, retroviral induction of Fas ligand into the glioma cells with high levels of Fas led to the selection of cells that were resistant to Fas-dependent apoptosis. These resistant U251 transfectants were susceptible to FADD adenovirus (Adeno-FADD)-induced apoptosis, indicating that a cascade of death signals was blocked at the steps between Fas ligand and FADD. As for adenoviral transduction of Fas ligand into gliomas, gliomas with a relatively high level of expression of Fas were remarkably sensitive to Adeno-FL-induced apoptosis. Besides, Adeno-FADD induced pronounced apoptosis in all glioma cells. Our data suggest the possibility of using adenovirus-mediated transduction of Fas ligand and FADD genes as a therapeutic approach to target gliomas.