Grape seed proanthocyanidins are natural antioxidants which possess a broad spectrum of chemoprotective properties against free radicals and oxidative stress. In this study, we have assessed the cytotoxicity of a novel IH636 grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE) against MCF-7 human breast cancer cells, A-427 human lung cancer cells, CRL-1739 human gastric adenocarcinoma cells and K562 chronic myelogenous leukemic cells at 25 and 50 mg/lit concentrations for 0-72 h using cytomorphology and MTT cytotoxicity assay. In addition, we compared the effects on normal human gastric mucosal cells and normal J774A.1 murine macrophage cells with the effects on the cancer cell lines. Concentration- and time-dependent cytotoxic effects of GSPE were observed on the MCF-7 breast cancer, A-427 lung cancer and gastric adenocarcinoma cells. Following incubation of the MCF-7 cells with 25 mg/lit of the GSPE approximately 6.5, 30 and 43% inhibitions in cell growth were observed at 24, 48 and 72 h of incubation, respectively, while incubation of the MCF-7 cells with 50 mg/lit of the GSPE resulted in 11, 35 and 47% inhibition in cell growth at these same points, respectively. Similar results were observed in the A-427 and gastric adenocarcinoma cells. GSPE exhibited no cytotoxicity toward the neoplastic K562 myelogenous leukemic cells. However, GSPE enhanced the growth and viability of the normal human gastric mucosal cells and J774A.1 murine macrophage cells. These data demonstrate that GSPE exhibited cytotoxicity towards some cancer cells, while enhancing the growth and viability of the normal cells which were examined.