The Fas/Fas ligand system triggers the extrinsic apoptotic pathway and is involved in several inflammatory conditions, also at the skin level. The Fas/Fas ligand cell death pathway plays a major role in anoikis, a type of apoptosis characterized by cell detachment. As pemphigus is characterized by loss of cell to cell adhesion, we evaluated the role of anoikis and Fas ligand in this bullous disease. We report that, in suprabasal epidermis from perilesional pemphigus skin, most keratinocytes are apoptotic. Moreover, Fas ligand levels are markedly increased in sera from pemphigus patients, whereas they are undetectable in sera from patients undergoing steroid treatment. Sera from untreated patients but not from patients under steroids induce keratinocyte apoptosis. Pemphigus-sera-induced cell death is partially inhibited by pretreatment with anti-Fas ligand antibodies and by incubation with caspase-8 inhibitor Z-IETD-FMK. Finally, caspase-8 is activated in keratinocytes provided with sera from pemphigus patients, whereas cleavage is partially blocked by pretreatment of sera with anti-Fas ligand antibody. These results suggest that increased Fas ligand in pemphigus sera is responsible for keratinocyte apoptosis, which occurs through the activation of a caspase-8-driven extrinsic apoptotic pathway.