TOX is a nuclear factor essential for the development of CD4(+) T cells in the thymus. It is normally expressed in low amounts in mature CD4(+) T cells of the skin and the peripheral blood. We have recently discovered that the transcript levels of TOX were significantly increased in mycosis fungoides, the most common type of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), as compared to normal skin or benign inflammatory dermatoses. However, its involvement in advanced CTCL and its biological effects on CTCL pathogenesis have not been explored. In this study, we demonstrate that TOX expression is also enhanced significantly in primary CD4(+)CD7(-) cells from patients with Sézary syndrome, a leukemic variant of CTCL, and that high TOX transcript levels correlate with increased disease-specific mortality. Stable knockdown of TOX in CTCL cells promoted apoptosis and reduced cell cycle progression, leading to less cell viability and colony-forming ability in vitro and to reduced tumor growth in vivo. Furthermore, TOX knockdown significantly increased 2 cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors, CDKN1B and CDKN1C. Lastly, blocking CDKN1B and CDKN1C reversed growth inhibition of TOX knockdown. Collectively, these findings provide strong evidence that aberrant TOX activation is a critical oncogenic event for CTCL.