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Previous studies from this laboratory have indicated that alpha-santalol (5%) provides chemopreventive effects in 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-initiated and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-promoted skin cancer in CD-1 and SENCAR mice. Skin cancer development is associated with increased ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity, DNA synthesis and rapid proliferation of epidermal cells. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of various concentrations (1.25% and 2.5%) of alpha-santalol on DMBA-initiated and TPA-promoted skin cancer development, TPA-induced ODC activity, and DNA synthesis in CD-1 mice. alpha-Santalol treatment at both concentrations (1.25% and 2.5%) prevented the skin cancer development. alpha-Santalol treatment (1.25% and 2.5%) resulted in a significant decrease in the TPA-induced ODC activity and incorporation of [3H]thymidine in DNA in the epidermis of CD-1 mice. There was no significant difference in the effects of 1.25% and 2.5% alpha-santalol on tumour incidence, multiplicity, epidermal TPA-induced ODC activity, or DNA synthesis in CD-1 mice.