The chemopreventive influence of phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) during the post-initiation stage was investigated in the N-nitrosobis(2-oxopropyl)amine (BOP)-initiated hamster tumorigenesis model. A total of 120 female 5-week-old hamsters were divided into six groups. Animals in groups 1-3, each consisting of 30 hamsters, were injected twice, subcutaneously, with BOP 7 days apart to effect initiation. Starting 1 week after the second BOP injection, hamsters in groups 1 and 2 were fed diets supplemented with 6 micromol/g and 3 micromol/g of PEITC, respectively, for 51 weeks. Animals in group 3 received a basal diet as an initiation positive control. Animals in groups 4-6, each consisting of ten hamsters, were given 6 micromol/g or 3 micromol/g of PEITC alone, or were non-treated, matched negative controls for groups 1-3. At the termination of experimental week 52, the incidences and multiplicities of neoplastic lesions in the target organs including the pancreas, lung, liver and kidney were found to be comparable among the BOP-treated groups. The values for pancreatic adenocarcinomas as well as dysplastic lesions tended to increase although without statistical significance. Taken together with our previous finding that PEITC dramatically inhibited the initiation phase of BOP-induced pancreatic and lung tumorigenesis in hamsters, it can be concluded that PEITC specifically exerts chemopreventive effects only when given concomitantly with the carcinogen.