Tocotrienols, vitamin E compounds that have an unsaturated side chain with three double bonds, selectively inhibited the activity of mammalian DNA polymerase lambda (pol lambda) in vitro. These compounds did not influence the activities of replicative pols such as alpha, delta, and epsilon, or even the activity of pol beta which is thought to have a very similar three-dimensional structure to the pol beta-like region of pol lambda. Since delta-tocotrienol had the strongest inhibitory effect among the four (alpha- to delta-) tocotrienols, the isomer's structure might be an important factor in the inhibition of pol lambda. The inhibitory effect of delta-tocotrienol on both intact pol lambda (residues 1-575) and a truncated pol lambda lacking the N-terminal BRCA1 C-terminus (BRCT) domain (residues 133-575, del-1 pol lambda) was dose-dependent, with 50% inhibition observed at a concentration of 18.4 and 90.1microM, respectively. However, del-2 pol lambda (residues 245-575) containing the C-terminal pol beta-like region was unaffected. Tocotrienols also inhibited the proliferation of and formation of tubes by bovine aortic endothelial cells, with delta-tocotrienol having the greatest effect. These results indicated that tocotrienols targeted both pol lambda and angiogenesis as anti-cancer agents. The relationship between the inhibition of pol lambda and anti-angiogenesis by delta-tocotrienol was discussed.