The aim of the present study was to investigate the enhancing effect of dietary sugar on the development of aberrant crypt foci (ACF) in male F344 rats initiated with azoxymethane (AOM). The potential role of sugar as either a co-initiator or a promoter was investigated by giving diets high in sucrose and dextrin (61%) during either the pre-initiation, the initiation, and/or the post-initiation stage of the ACF development. The colonic cell proliferation, activity of colonic phase II enzymes, and a biomarker of lipid peroxidation were additionally examined in order to obtain information on the specific mechanisms involved in the suggested effect of sucrose and dextrin on ACF development. The number of large sized and the total number of ACF were significantly increased by feeding sucrose and dextrin in the post-initiation period. No positive association between colonic cell proliferation and ACF was seen. The level of oxidative stress in the cytosol from the proximal colon and colonic glutathione transferase and quinone reductase was not affected by the sugar treatments. The overall results from this study show that sucrose and dextrin enhance the number of preneoplastic lesions in AOM-initiated rats, and act primarily as promoters in the development of ACF.