Coffee drinking appears to reduce cancer risk in liver and colon. Such chemoprevention may be caused by the diterpenes kahweol and cafestol (K/C) contained in unfiltered beverage. In animals, K/C treatment inhibited the mutagenicity/tumorigenicity of several carcinogens, likely explicable by beneficial modifications of xenobiotic metabolism, particularly by stimulation of carcinogen-detoxifying phase II mechanisms. In the present study, we investigated the influence of K/C on potentially carcinogen-activating hepatic cytochrome P450 (CYP450) and sulfotransferase (SULT). Male F344 rats received 0.2% K/C (1:1) in the diet for 10 days or unfiltered and/or filtered coffee as drinking fluid. Consequently, K/C decreased the metabolism of four resorufin derivatives representing CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP2B1, and CYP2B2 activities by approximately 50%. For CYP1A2, inhibition was confirmed at the mRNA level, accompanied by decreased CYP3A9. In contrast to K/C, coffee increased the metabolism of the resorufin derivatives up to 7-fold which was only marginally influenced by filtering. CYP2E1 activity and mRNA remained unchanged by K/C and coffee. K/C but not coffee decreased SULT by approximately 25%. In summary, K/C inhibited CYP450s by tendency but not universally. Inhibition of CYP450 and SULT may contribute to chemoprevention with K/C but involvement in the protection of coffee drinkers is unlikely. The data confirm that the effects of complex mixtures may deviate from those of their putatively active components.