A loss of FAS (CD95) function has been proposed to constitute an important step in early mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma development and FAS mutations have been recognized in malignant lymphomas, in particular at extranodal sites. Since primary gastric lymphomas frequently exhibit resistance to FAS-mediated apoptosis, we investigated whether FAS is mutated in 18 gastric MALT lymphomas and 28 diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL). We detected seven mutations in five lymphomas, one MALT lymphoma and four DLBCL; two DLBCL had two mutations. The MALT lymphoma exhibited a point mutation in the splice donor region of intron 3. Three DLBCL had missense mutations in exon 2, which encodes a signal peptide and a portion of the extracellular FAS ligand-binding domain. One DLBCL carried a point mutation in the splice donor region of intron 8, which would result in exon skipping. Two DLBCL harbored a missense mutation in exon 9, which encodes the intracellular death domain. The two death domain mutations inhibited FAS ligand-induced apoptosis in a dominant-negative mode, when transiently expressed in human T47D breast carcinoma and Jurkat T cells. A signal peptide and an extracellular domain mutation, however, failed to inhibit apoptosis in these transfection assays. They are likely to reduce apoptosis in lymphoma cells solely by a loss of function. In summary, our data show that FAS mutations are rare in primary gastric MALT lymphomas (5.6%) but occur in a subset of primary gastric DLBCL (14.3%) and suggest that these mutations contribute to the pathogenesis of gastric lymphomas by rendering lymphocytes resistant to apoptosis.