Avemar (MSC) is a nontoxic fermented wheat germ extract demonstrated to significantly improve the survival rate in patients suffering from various malignancies. We investigated its effects in human HL-60 promyelocytic leukemia cells. After 24, 48, and 72 h of incubation, Avemar inhibited the growth of HL-60 cells with IC50 values of 400, 190, and 160 microg/ml, respectively. Incubation with MSC caused dose-dependent induction of apoptosis in up to 85% of tumor cells. In addition, Avemar attenuated the progression from G2-M to G0-G1 phase of the cell cycle and was also found to significantly reduce the in situ activity of ribonucleotide reductase, the key enzyme of de novo DNA synthesis. We conclude that Avemar exerts a number of beneficial effects which could support conventional chemotherapy of human malignancies.