Curcumin has antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and chemopreventive activities. To determine whether aging affects the inhibition of colon carcinogenesis by curcumin, young (6 wk), mature (12 mo), and old (22 mo) F344 male rats were fed either AIN-93 containing 0.6% curcumin or AIN-93 control diet. Aberrant crypt foci (ACF) were induced with two weekly s.c. injections of azoxymethane. After an additional 3 mo on the diets, the number, multiplicity, and distribution of ACF were evaluated. Addition of curcumin to the diet reduced the number of ACF by 49% in young rats and by 55% in old rats (P < 0.05). However, interestingly, no reduction of ACF was found in mature rats fed curcumin. Inhibition of large ACF was also affected by age, with the greatest reduction of large ACF occurring in old rats. However, animal age did not significantly alter the effect of dietary curcumin on reduction of cyclooxygenase-2 mRNA expression in the liver or reduction of serum total cholesterol levels. These results indicate that age may play a significant role in the efficacy of chemoprevention of colon cancer by curcumin.