The effects of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), piroxicam and indomethacin on 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide-(4-NQO)-induced tongue carcinogenesis in male ACI/N rats were examined. Rats were given 4-NQO (10 ppm) in the drinking water for 12 weeks and followed by either diet containing 150 ppm piroxicam or the drinking water containing 10 ppm indomethacin for 24 weeks. The incidence of tongue neoplasms (squamous cell papilloma and carcinoma) in rats given 4-NQO plus piroxicam (4/13, 31%) and those given 4-NQO plus indomethacin (3/13, 23%) were significantly lower than that of animals given 4-NQO alone (12/17, 71%) (P less than 0.05 and P less than 0.005). Rats given piroxicam or indomethacin alone had no neoplasms in the tongue. Thus, piroxicam and indomethacin significantly inhibited the development of tongue neoplasms in male ACI/N rats.