Quercetin, a polyphenolic bioflavonoid, possesses multiple pharmacological actions including anti-inflammatory and antitumor properties. However, the precise action mechanisms of quercetin remain unclear. Here, we reported the regulatory actions of quercetin on cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), an important mediator in inflammation and tumor promotion, and revealed the underlying mechanisms. Quercetin significantly suppressed COX-2 mRNA and protein expression and prostaglandin (PG) E(2) production, as well as COX-2 promoter activation in breast cancer cells. Quercetin also significantly inhibited COX-2-mediated angiogenesis in human endothelial cells in a dose-dependent manner. The in vitro streptavidin-agarose pulldown assay and in vivo chromatin immunoprecipitation assay showed that quercetin considerably inhibited the binding of the transactivators CREB2, C-Jun, C/EBPβ and NF-κB and blocked the recruitment of the coactivator p300 to COX-2 promoter. Moreover, quercetin effectively inhibited p300 histone acetyltransferase (HAT) activity, thereby attenuating the p300-mediated acetylation of NF-κB. Treatment of cells with p300 HAT inhibitor roscovitine was as effective as quercetin at inhibiting p300 HAT activity. Addition of quercetin to roscovitine-treated cells did not change the roscovitine-induced inhibition of p300 HAT activity. Conversely, gene delivery of constitutively active p300 significantly reversed the quercetin-mediated inhibition of endogenous HAT activity. These results indicate that quercetin suppresses COX-2 expression by inhibiting the p300 signaling and blocking the binding of multiple transactivators to COX-2 promoter. Our findings therefore reveal a novel mechanism of action of quercetin and suggest a potential use for quercetin in the treatment of COX-2-mediated diseases such as breast cancers.