Sixty women at increased risk for breast cancer were enrolled in a placebo-controlled, double-blind dose-ranging chemoprevention study of indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Fifty-seven of these women with a mean age of 47 years (range 22-74) completed the study. Each woman took a placebo capsule or an I3C capsule daily for a total of 4 weeks; none of the women experienced any significant toxicity effects. The urinary estrogen metabolite ratio of 2-hydroxyestrone to 16 alpha-hydroxyestrone, as determined by an ELISA assay, served as the surrogate endpoint biomarker (SEB). Perturbation in the levels of SEB from baseline was comparable among women in the control (C) group and the 50, 100, and 200 mg low-dose (LD) group. Similarly, it was comparable among women in the 300 and 400 mg high-dose (HD) group. Regression analysis showed that peak relative change of SEB for women in the HD group was significantly greater than that for women in the C and LD groups by an amount that was inversely related to baseline ratio; the difference at the median baseline ratio was 0.48 with 95% confidence interval (0.30, 0.67). No other factors, such as age and menopausal status, were found to be significant in the regression analysis. The results in this study suggest that I3C at a minimum effective dose schedule of 300 mg per day is a promising chemopreventive agent for breast cancer prevention. A larger study to validate these results and to identify an optimal effective dose schedule of I3C for long-term breast cancer chemoprevention will be necessary.