Previously, we showed that an apple juice extract (AE) potently inhibits the protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) activity of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). In the present study, an apple pomace extract (APE) was found to exceed the EGFR inhibitory properties of AE in a cell-free system. The impact of the extracts on the phosphorylation status of the EGFR in intact cells (HT29) was sensitive to catalase, added to suppress the accumulation of hydrogen peroxide. In the absence of catalase, the formation of hydrogen peroxide was observed, achieving 1.1 +/- 0.1 microM (AE) and 1.5 +/- 0.1 microM (APE) after 45 min of incubation. In the presence of catalase, suppressing the hydrogen peroxide level to the solvent control, APE effectively suppressed EGFR phosphorylation, even exceeding the effects of AE. Both extracts inhibited the growth of HT29 cells, albeit the enhanced EGFR inhibitory properties of APE compared to AE were not reflected by a higher growth inhibitory potential. The results clearly show that the effect of apple extracts on the EGFR and cell growth are not simply artefacts of hydrogen peroxide formation. However, the formation of hydrogen peroxide has to be considered to modulate and/or mask cellular responses to apple extracts.