We previously reported that 6-shogaol strongly suppressed lipopolysaccharide-induced overexpression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in murine macrophages. In this study, we further compared curcumin, 6-gingerol, and 6-shogaol's molecular mechanism of action and their anti-tumor properties. We demonstrate that topical application of 6-shogaol more effectively inhibited 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (TPA)-stimulated transcription of iNOS and COX-2 mRNA expression in mouse skin than curcumin and 6-gingerol. Pretreatment with 6-shogaol has resulted in the reduction of TPA-induced nuclear translocation of the nuclear factor-kappaB subunits. 6-Shogaol also reduced TPA-induced phosphorylation of IkappaBalpha and p65, and caused subsequent degradation of IkappaBalpha. Moreover, 6-shogaol markedly suppressed TPA-induced activation of extracellular signal-regulate kinase1/2, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, JNK1/2, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt, which are upstream of nuclear factor-kappaB and AP-1. Furthermore, 6-shogaol significantly inhibited 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene/TPA-induced skin tumor formation measured by the tumor multiplicity of papillomas at 20 wk. Presented data reveal for the first time that 6-shogaol is an effective anti-tumor agent that functions by down-regulating inflammatory iNOS and COX-2 gene expression in mouse skin. It is suggested that 6-shogaol is a novel functional agent capable of preventing inflammation-associated tumorigenesis.