How dietary corn oil is involved in colon carcinogenesis and cancer development is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate whether long-term dietary corn oil promotes colon cancer by inhibiting the tumor suppressor gene p53-mediated mitochondria-dependent apoptosis in azoxymethane (AOM)-treated rats. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were injected with AOM or with saline and fed on a basal diet or basal diet supplemented with 10% corn oil for 48 weeks. Colonic aberrant crypt foci (ACF) and tumors, including adenomas and carcinomas, were examined. Colonic apoptosis and cell proliferation were evaluated. Wild type (wt) p53 was analyzed using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blotting. In addition, Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Bax, and Bak localized in the mitochondria were detected. Long-term dietary corn oil increased ACF in AOM-treated rats at 12 weeks and promoted colon cancer invasion at 48 weeks. Cancer invasion was not observed in the AOM-treated rats without dietary corn oil, although colon adenomas and cancers were detected. Apoptosis was decreased and cell proliferation was increased in the AOM-treated rats with dietary corn oil, compared with the AOM-treated rats with dietary basal diet. In these rats, mitochondrial wt p53 was significantly inhibited through decreased mitochondrial localization of wt p53 and increased cytosolic p53, resulting in the upregulation of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL and the downregulation of Bak in the mitochondria. Results suggest that long-term dietary corn oil promotes AOM-induced colon cancer development partly by inhibiting the tumor suppressor gene p53-mediated mitochondria-dependent apoptosis.