Naturally-occurring aromatic isothiocyanates, benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC) and phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), were tested for their post-treatment effects on lung tumorigenicity by the tobacco-specific nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) in A/J mice. Mice at 7 weeks of age were administered a single i.p. dose of NNK (10 mumol/mouse). One week after NNK dosing, mice were placed on AIN-76A diet containing 1 or 3 mumol/g diet of BITC or PEITC. The control group was maintained on AIN-76A diet after NNK administration. Mice were killed 16 weeks after NNK treatment and lung adenomas were counted. The results showed mice fed control diet developed 7.8 tumors/mouse. Mice fed PEITC at concentrations of 1 or 3 mumol/g diet had 8.2 or 6.1 tumors/mouse, respectively. Feeding BITC at 1 mumol/g diet resulted in a tumor yield of 8.0 tumors/mouse, whereas BITC diet at 3 mumol/g diet gave 5.2 tumors/mouse, a small but significant inhibition. However, in the high BITC dose group, a loss in weight gain due to reduced food intake was noted. The results of this study showed that post-treatment of aromatic isothiocyanates had little, if any, effect on NNK lung tumorigenicity in A/J mice. This is in contrast to our previous findings in which pretreatment with PEITC greatly inhibited lung tumor induction by NNK in A/J mice and suggests that tumor inhibition by PEITC is due to inhibition of NNK metabolic activation.