This study investigated the influence of two formula diets containing 20 g/100 g diet of either whey protein concentrate or casein, or Purina mouse chow on 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH)-induced colon carcinoma in A/J mice. Four weeks after the 24th DMH treatment the incidence of tumour and tumour area in the whey protein-fed mice was substantially less in comparison to either the casein or Purina groups. The Purina group exhibited the greatest tumour burden. At the end of the experiment all animals continuously fed the whey protein diet were found to be alive, whereas 33% of those on the casein or Purina diet had died. Animals fed Purina diet for 20 weeks and then switched to either milk protein diet for a further 8 weeks exhibited a decrease in tumour burden as compared to those animals fed the Purina diet continuously. Body weights were similar in all dietary groups. In conclusion, a whey protein diet appears to significantly influence the development of chemically induced colon tumours and the short-term survival of mice.