Hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) is a common transplant-related complication of stem cell transplantation. There is no safe and proven therapy for established VOD, and attempts have focused on its prevention. Limited studies have suggested that prophylactic use of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) reduced the incidence of VOD. To confirm the preventive effect of UDCA on VOD, we conducted a prospective, unblinded randomized, multicenter study of UDCA involving 132 patients who underwent stem cell transplantation for a variety of disorders. Sixty-seven patients were assigned to the UDCA-treated group, and 65 patients were assigned to the control group. The clinical characteristics of the two groups were similar with respect to primary diagnosis, age, sex, and baseline organ function. The preparative regimen and GVHD prophylaxis did not differ significantly between the two groups. UDCA was highly effective in preventing VOD, which occurred in only 3.0% in the UDCA-treated group, as opposed to 18.5% in the control group (P = 0.0043). There were no adverse effects attributable to UDCA. The initial promising report of a prophylactic effect of UDCA on VOD after stem cell transplantation was confirmed in this prospective study.