Cape aloe (Aloe ferox Miller) has been a herb well known for its cathartic properties and has also been used popularly as a health drink (juice, tea and tonic) in the United States and in Europe. Cape aloe extract also has been reported to possess several pharmacological effects, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and protective effect against liver injury. However, the investigations on an anti-tumor activity in cape aloe extract are very few and subsequent mechanisms have not been well elucidated. In this study, we examined the effect of the selective growth inhibitory activity of cape aloe extract and found that the cape aloe extract, especially the dichloromethane (CH(2)Cl(2)) extract, caused a dose-dependent growth inhibitory effect in Ehrlich ascites tumor cells (EATC), but not in mouse embryo fibroblast (NIH3T3) cells, which was used as a normal cell model. Furthermore, the CH(2)Cl(2) extract caused an accumulation of cells in the G1 phase and a decrease of cells in the S and G2/M phase of the cell cycle and inhibited DNA synthesis in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, other results suggest that cell cycle arrest and inhibition of proliferation in EATC by the CH(2)Cl(2 )extract are associated with decreased retinoblastoma protein (Rb) phosphorylation.