The modifying effects of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, indomethacin (IMC) and piroxicam (PC) on hepatocarcinogenesis induced by 2-acetylaminofluorene (AAF) were investigated in male ACI/N rats. Rats were divided into 6 groups: group 1 was fed a diet containing 200 ppm AAF for 16 weeks, starting at 6 weeks of age; group 2 was fed an AAF together with 130 ppm PC-containing diet; group 3 received an AAF diet and IMC (10 ppm) in their drinking water; group 4 was fed a PC diet alone; group 5 was given IMC alone; and group 6 served as controls. The PC diet, or the drinking water containing IMC, was given to the rats starting at 5 weeks of age until 1 week after the carcinogen exposure. At termination of the experiment (week 36), the incidences of iron-excluding altered liver cell foci (24.2 +/- 5.2/cm2) and liver cell tumors (1/10, 10%), and the tumor multiplicity (0.10/rat) in rats of group 2 were significantly smaller than those of group 1 (foci incidence, 42.6 +/- 6.7/cm2; tumor incidence, 10/10, 100%; and multiplicity, 4.00/rat) (P < 0.05). Similarly, the incidence of iron-excluding hepatocellular foci (27.4 < 1.2/cm2) and liver cell tumors (1/10, 10%) and the tumor multiplicity (0.10/rat) in rats of group 3 were significantly lower than those of group 1 (P < 0.05). There were no liver cell lesions (foci and neoplasms) in rats of groups 4, 5 and 6. Thus, PC and IMC inhibited the hepatocarcinogenesis induced by AAF when administered concurrently with the carcinogen and the results may indicate possible involvement of altered arachidonic metabolism in the initiation phase of AAF-induced liver carcinogenesis.