UVB radiation damages keratinocytes, potentially inducing chronic skin damage, cutaneous malignancy, and suppression of the immune system. Naturally occurring agents have been considered for prevention and treatment of various kinds of cancer, including skin cancer. Inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), an antioxidant, is a naturally occurring polyphosphorylated carbohydrate that has shown a strong anticancer activity in several experimental models. We assessed the protective effects of IP6 against UVB irradiationinduced injury and photocarcinogenesis by using HaCaT cells (human immortalized keratinocytes) and SKH1 hairless mice. We found that IP6 counteracts the harmful effects of UVB irradiation and increases the viability and survival of UVB-exposed cells. Treatment with IP6 after UVB irradiation (30 mJ/cm(2)) arrested cells in the G(1) and G(2) M phases while decreasing the S phase of the cell cycle. Treatment with IP6 also decreased UVB-induced apoptosis and caspase 3 activation. Topical application of IP6 followed by exposure to UVB irradiation in SKH1 hairless mice decreased tumor incidence and multiplicity as compared with control mice. Our results suggest that IP6 protects HaCaT cells from UVB-induced apoptosis and mice from UVB-induced tumors.