Jamaica quassia extract (JQE), a natural bittering agent, was investigated for hepatocarcinogenesis-promoting potential using a medium-term liver bioassay system. F344 male rats were given a single intraperitoneal injection of diethylnitrosamine (200 mg/kg body weight) and then starting 2 weeks later, received JQE in the diet at concentrations of 500, 5000 or 30,000 ppm for 6 weeks. Animals for tumor promotion (+) and (-) controls were fed 500 ppm sodium phenobarbital (PB) and basal diet, respectively during the promotion phase in this model. All animals were subjected to two-thirds partial hepatectomy at week 3 and killed at week 8. As with the PB-promoted case, both numbers and areas of glutathione S-transferase placental form-positive liver cell foci were significantly increased by JQE at 30,000 ppm, with non-significant increases evident at 5000 ppm. The results thus indicate that JQE at high dose has promoting potential for rat hepatocarcinogenesis. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.