Previous studies in this laboratory with young Fischer 344 male rats have shown that the post-initiation development of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1)-induced gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase positive (GGT+) hepatic foci was markedly inhibited by low protein feeding, even though the energy intake was greater. This dietary effect, however, did not necessarily apply to hepatic tumor development. Thus, the present investigation was undertaken to examine this dietary effect upon the development of hepatic tumors and, is so doing, to determine the correlation of foci development with tumor development. Following AFB1 dosing (15 daily doses of 0.3 mg/kg each), animals were fed diets containing 6, 14 or 22% casein (5.2, 12.2, 19.1% protein) for 6, 12, 40, 58 and 100 weeks. Foci at 12 weeks and tumors at 40, 58 and 100 weeks developed dose-dependently to protein intake. Foci development, tumor incidence, tumor size and the number of tumors per animal were markedly reduced while the time to tumor emergence was increased with low protein feeding. Non-hepatic tumor incidence also was lower in the animals fed the lowest protein diet. Foci development indices (foci number, per cent liver volume occupied) were highly correlated with tumor incidence at 58 and 100 weeks (r = 0.90-1.00). Tumor and foci inhibition occurred in spite of the greater energy intake.