- The expression of a cell death-inducing gene, Bax, was investigated in 52 cases of Hodgkin9s disease in parallel with Epstein-Barr virus and was compared with the immunodetection of other apoptosis-regulating proteins, Mcl-1, Bcl-2, and Bcl-x. Bax immunostaining was found in 92% of the cases, among them 28% with a strong signal in more than 75% of the Reed-Sternberg cells. Mcl-1 was positive in 80% of the cases, whereas Bcl-2 and Bcl-x were found in 53% and 88% of the cases, respectively. Of 48 (89%) Bax-positive tumors, 43 were found to express apoptosis-inhibiting proteins such as Mcl-1 or Bcl-2. With the exception of 1 case, all Bax-positive tumors also expressed either Bcl- 2, Bcl-x, Mcl-1, or combinations of these anti-apoptotic proteins. No correlation was found between Bax expression and the presence of apoptotic cells as detected by morphology and the in situ 3′ OH-DNA end- labeling technique. Our findings show that the apoptosis-inducing gene Bax expression is frequently expressed in Hodgkin9s disease, providing a potential explanation for the good chemoresponses generally obtained for patients with this neoplastic disorder.