Hepatocellular carcinoma has been described to exhibit characteristics similar to that of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). This includes similar anti-neoplastic responses to extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activation. NET cells and HepG2 cells have both shown growth inhibition with ERK activation. ZM336372, a Raf-1 activating agent, has been shown to cause growth inhibition and suppression of hormone secretion in a neuroendocrine cell line. Here we examine treatment of the HepG2 cell line with ZM336732 to determine if a similar anti-proliferative response will be obtained. HepG2 cells were treated with ZM336372 or solvent (dimethyl sulfoxide). The resulting effect on the proliferation was measured using the 3,4-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5- diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Western blot analysis was performed to examine the activation of the Raf-1/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase/ERK pathway, chromogranin A production, and p21CIP1 level. Growth inhibition was observed with ZM336372 in a dose-dependent fashion. Minimal baseline phosphorylation of ERK 1/2 was observed; however, activation was observed after treatment with ZM336372. Chromogranin A secretion was suppressed due to treatment with ZM336372. A dose-dependent up-regulation of p21 CIP1 was observed in response to ZM336372 treatment. ZM336372 causes growth inhibition, suppression of hormone secretion, and up-regulation of cell cycle inhibitors in a human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line, similar to that previously seen in NETs. © 2008 The Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract.