Epidemiological and experimental studies suggest that dietary milk products may exert an inhibitory effect on the development of several types of tumors. Some recent experiments in rodents indicate that the antitumor activity of the dairy products is in the protein fraction and more specifically in the whey protein component of milk. We and others have demonstrated that whey protein diets result in increased glutathione (GSH) concentration in a number of tissues, and that some of the beneficial effects of whey protein intake are abrogated by inhibition of GSH synthesis. Whey protein is particularly rich in substrates for GSH synthesis. We suggest that whey protein may be exerting its effect on carcinogenesis by enhancing GSH concentration.