Lately, a strong correlation has been established between diet and cancer. For ages, cumin has been a part of the diet. It is a popular spice regularly used as a flavoring agent in a number of ethnic cousins. In the present study, cancer chemopreventive potentials of different doses of a cumin seed-mixed diet were evaluated against benzo(a)pyrene [B(a)P]-induced forestomach tumorigenesis and 3-methylcholanthrene (MCA)-induced uterine cervix tumorigenesis. Results showed a significant inhibition of stomach tumor burden (tumors per mouse) by cumin. Tumor burden was 7.33 +/- 2.10 in the B(a)P-treated control group, whereas it reduced to 3.10 +/- 0.57 (P < 0.001) by a 2.5% dose and 3.11 +/- 0.60 (P <0.001) by a 5% dose of cumin seeds. Cervical carcinoma incidence, compared with the MCA-treated control group (66.67%), reduced to 27.27% (P < 0.05) by a diet of 5% cumin seeds and to 12.50% (P < 0.05) by a diet of 7.5% cumin seeds. The effect of 2.5 and 5% cumin seed-mixed diets was also examined on carcinogen/xenobiotic metabolizing phase I and phase II enzymes, antioxidant enzymes, glutathione content, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and lipid peroxidation in the liver of Swiss albino mice. Levels of cytochrome P-450 (cyt P-450) and cytochrome b5 (cyt b(5)) were significantly augmented (P < 0.05) by the 2.5% dose of cumin seed diet. The levels of cyt P-450 reductase and cyt b(5) reductase were increased (significance level being from P < 0.05 to P < 0.01) by both doses of cumin. Among the phase II enzymes, glutathione S-transferase specific activity increased (P < 0.005) by the 5% dose, whereas that of DT-diaphorase increased significantly (P < 0.05) by both doses used (2.5 and 5%). In the antioxidant system, significant elevation of the specific activities of superoxide dismutase (P < 0.01) and catalase (P < 0.05) was observed with the 5% dose of cumin. The activities of glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase remained unaltered by both doses of cumin. The level of reduced glutathione measured as nonprotein sulfhydryl content was elevated (significance level being from P < 0.05 to P < 0.01) by both doses of cumin. Lipid peroxidation measured as formation of MDA production showed significant inhibition (P < 0.05 to P < 0.01) by both doses of cumin. LDH activity remained unaltered by both doses of cumin. The results strongly suggest the cancer chemopreventive potentials of cumin seed and could be attributed to its ability to modulate carcinogen metabolism.