Sulindac (cis-5-fluoro-2-methyl-1-[p-(methylsulfinyl) benzylidene] indene-3-acetic acid), an inhibitor of prostaglandin synthesis, has been reported to cause regression of colon polyps in patients with familial polyposis coli and Gardner's syndrome. We examined the effect of sulindac on the growth of primary colon carcinomas in rats. Colon tumors were induced in 18 rats by repeated subcutaneous administration of dimethylhydrazine. The site and diameter of each tumor were measured via laparotomy and colonoscopy. Rats were randomized to receive either sulindac (10 mg/kg) twice daily or vehicle (0.5% methylcellulose). After 4 weeks of treatment, the site and size of tumors in the colon were again recorded. In eight rats receiving sulindac, no new tumors were identified, while in 10 control rats, 13 additional tumors were found after treatment. There was a significantly greater increase in size of the tumors in the control group (56.4 mm for 26 tumors) compared with the rats receiving sulindac (9.3 mm for 14 tumors). We report that sulindac inhibits the rate of development and the rate of growth of colon tumors in the rat.