We showed that guaraná (Paullinia cupana Mart var. sorbilis) had a chemopreventive effect on mouse hepatocarcinogenesis and reduced diethylnitrosamine-induced DNA damage. In the present experiment, we evaluated the effects of guaraná in an experimental metastasis model. Cultured B16/F10 melanoma cells (5 x 10(5) cells/animal) were injected into the tail vein of mice on the 7th day of guaraná treatment (2.0 mg P. cupana/g body weight, per gavage) and the animals were treated with guaraná daily up to 14 days until euthanasia (total treatment time: 21 days). Lung sections were obtained for morphometric analysis, apoptotic bodies were counted to calculate the apoptotic index and proliferating cell nuclear antigen-positive cells were counted to determine the proliferation index. Guaraná-treated (GUA) animals presented a 68.6% reduction in tumor burden area compared to control (CO) animals which were not treated with guaraná (CO: 0.84 +/- 0.26, N = 6; GUA: 0.27 +/- 0.24, N = 6; P = 0.0043), a 57.9% reduction in tumor proliferation index (CO: 23.75 +/- 20.54, N = 6; GUA: 9.99 +/- 3.93, N = 6; P = 0.026) and a 4.85-fold increase in apoptotic index (CO: 66.95 +/- 22.95, N = 6; GUA: 324.37 +/- 266.74 AB/mm(2), N = 6; P = 0.0152). In this mouse model, guaraná treatment decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis of tumor cells, consequently reducing the tumor burden area. We are currently investigating the molecular pathways of the effects of guaraná in cultured melanoma cells, regarding principally the cell cycle inhibitors and cyclins.