Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and is increasing at an alarming rate. The present study was to evaluate the antiproliferative effcts of hesperetin, a flavonoid commonly found in many herbal medicines and foods, on aberrant crypt foci (ACF), argyrophylic nucleolar organizer regions (AgNORs) and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH)-induced colon carcinogenesis in rats. Rats were given subcutaneous injections of DMH (20 mg/kg body weight) weekly for 15 weeks to induce carcinogenesis, and hesperetin was administered orally at the dose of 20 mg/kg body weight. DMH exposure alone produced a high incidence of ACF and showed positive staining for PCNA and AgNORs in colonic tissues. Supplementation with hesperetin lowered the PCNA labeling index and suppressed the formation of ACF in the rats with colon cancer. These results clearly reveal that dietary hesperetin possesses antiproliferative ability against chemically induced colon tumourigenesis. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.