Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been widely reported to inhibit tumor growth by a COX-independent mechanism, although alternative targets have not been well defined or used to develop improved drugs for cancer chemoprevention. Here, we characterize a novel sulindac derivative referred to as sulindac benzylamine (SBA) that does not inhibit COX-1 or COX-2, yet potently inhibits the growth and induces the apoptosis of human colon tumor cells. The basis for this activity appears to involve cyclic guanosine 3′,5′,- monophosphate phosphodiesterase (cGMP PDE) inhibition as evident by its ability to inhibit cGMP hydrolysis in colon tumor cell lysates and purified cGMP-specific PDE5, increase intracellular cGMP levels, and activate cGMP-dependent protein kinase G at concentrations that suppress tumor cell growth. PDE5 was found to be essential for colon tumor cell growth as determined by siRNA knockdown studies, elevated in colon tumor cells as compared with normal colonocytes, and associated with the tumor selectivity of SBA. SBA activation of PKG may suppress the oncogenic activity of β-catenin as evident by its ability to reduce β-catenin nuclear levels, Tcf (T-cell factor) transcriptional activity, and survivin levels. These events preceded apoptosis induction and appear to result from a rapid elevation of intracellular cGMP levels following cGMP PDE inhibition. We conclude that PDE5 and possibly other cGMP degrading isozymes can be targeted to develop safer and more efficacious NSAID derivatives for colorectal cancer chemoprevention. ©2012 AACR.