Vegetables, natural products of plant origin and numerous non-nutritive dietary constituents have been shown to play a salutary role in cancer chemoprevention. The present study aims to evaluate the chemopreventive efficacy of the methanol fraction of Asteracantha longifolia seed extract against development of 2-acetylaminofluorene (2-AAF)-selected γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (γ-GT)-positive foci following diethylnitrosamine (DEN) initiation. Treatment of rats with doses 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight of methanol extract of A. longifolia seeds on alternate days, subsequent to carcinogen treatment, for 6 weeks significantly reduced the incidence and size distribution of γ-GT-positive foci and tumor formation. Administration of A. longifolia seeds significantly (P<0.001) ameliorated the activities of antioxidant enzymes, glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and catalase (CAT), in a dose-dependent manner. Prophylactic administration of seed extract simultaneous to 2-AAF in the diet, at same doses, significantly suppressed 2-AAF and partial hepatectomy (PH)-induced ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity and [3H]thymidine incorporation into hepatic DNA, in a dose-dependent manner. Assimilation of the quantitative foci data together with the findings of the modulation of tumor promoting markers give ample evidence to the anti-tumor promoting potential of A. longifolia seeds against chemically-induced hepatocarcinogenesis in Wistar rats. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.