Indole-3-carbinol, 3,3'-diindolylmethane, and indole-3-acetonitrile, three indoles occurring in edible cruciferous vegetables, have been studied for their effects on 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced mammary tumor formation in female Sprague-Dawley rats and on benzo(a)pyrene-induced neoplasia of the forestomach in female ICR/Ha mice. When given by p.o. intubation 20 hr prior to 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene administration, indole-3-carbinol and 3,3'-diindolylmethane had an inhibitory effect on mammary tumor formation, but indole-3-acetonitrile was inactive. Indole-3-carbinol when added to the diet for 8 days prior to challenge with 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene inhibited mammary tumor formation, whereas indole-3-acetonitrile did not. Dietary administration of all three indoles inhibited benzo(a)pyrene-induced neoplasia of the forestomach in ICR/Ha mice. The identification of dietary constituents that can inhibit chemical carcinogens ultimately may be of value in understanding the balance of factors that determines the neoplastic response to these cancer-producing agents in the environment.