Apoptosis plays a major role in normal organism development, tissue homeostasis, and removal of damaged cells. Disruption of this process has been implicated in a variety of diseases such as cancer. AVEN is a recently discovered protein that blocks apoptosis induced by Apaf-1 and caspase-9. It is thought that AVEN functions by binding to Bcl-xL, an antiapoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family, and to Apaf-1, possibly interfering with the ability of Apaf-1 to self-associate, suggesting that AVEN impedes Apaf-1-mediated caspase activation. Higher levels of AVEN mRNA are seen in patients with acute leukemia than in control patients, suggesting that AVEN may be useful as a prognostic indicator in leukemia patients.