7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) is a polyaromatic hydrocarbon with potent mutagenic, carcinogenic and immunomodulatory activities. It has been postulated that the immunosuppressive effects of DMBA may contribute to the carcinogenicity of this agent. We investigated this issue by examining whether the pre-administration of DMBA at one skin site would augment its carcinogenic activity at a distant skin site. In animals placed on a cutaneous chemical carcinogenesis protocol to the skin of the back, presensitization with DMBA to the abdomen augmented skin tumorigenicity whether the tumor data are considered as cumulative number of tumors, percent of mice with tumors, number of tumors per mouse, or numbers of tumors per tumor bearing mouse as a function of weeks on test. These data demonstrate that pre-treatment with DMBA augments its skin tumorigenicity by impairing immunological surveillance. © 1988.