The effect of dietary quercetin (Q) was evaluated in rats treated with nitrosomethylurea (NMU). Pancreatic nodules and focal acinar cell hyperplasias were observed in groups treated with NMU (87%) and Q-NMU (100%). Although rats with dysplastic foci (27%) were found in the NMU-treated group, Q-NMU treatment resulted in a significantly higher number of rats with dysplastic foci (73%). Furthermore, carcinomas in situ (12%) and one microcarcinoma (4%) were found in these animals. Mitosis was significantly increased and apoptosis was diminished in focal acinar cell hyperplasias of the Q-NMU group. Our present results support a promoting and progressing effect of quercetin in the NMU model of rat pancreatic carcinogenesis.