Curcumin, a major yellow pigment and active component of turmeric, has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities. Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 plays an important role in colon carcinogenesis. To investigate the effect of curcumin on COX-2 expression, we treated HT-29 human colon cancer cells with various concentrations of curcumin. Curcumin inhibited the cell growth of HT-29 cells in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Curcumin markedly inhibited the mRNA and protein expression of COX-2, but not COX-1. These data suggest that a non-toxic concentration of curcumin has a significant effect on the in vitro growth of HT-29 cells, specifically inhibits COX-2 expression, and may have value as a safe chemopreventive agent for colon cancer.