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The objective of the present study is to investigate the therapeutic efficacy of baicalein (BE) on inflammatory cytokines, which is in line with tumor invasion factors and antioxidant defensive system during benzo(a)pyrene [B(a)P] (50 mg/kg body weight) induced pulmonary carcinogenesis in Swiss albino mice. After experimental period, increased levels of total and differential cell count in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were observed. Accompanied by marked increase in immature mast cell by toluidine blue staining and mature mast cell by safranin–alcian blue staining in B(a)P-induced lung cancer bearing animals. Protein expression levels studied by immunohistochemistry and immunoblot analysis of cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β and inducible nitric oxide synthase were also found to be significantly increased in lung cancer bearing animals. B(a)P-exposed mice lung exhibits activated expression of nuclear transcription factor kappa-B as confirmed by immunofluorescence and immunoblot analysis. Administration of BE (12 mg/kg body weight) significantly counteracted all the above deleterious changes. Moreover, assessment of tumor invasion factors on protein levels by immunoblot and mRNA expression levels by RT-PCR revealed that BE treatment effectively negates B(a)P-induced upregulated expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2, matrix metalloproteinase-9 and cyclo-oxygenase-2. Further analysis of lipid peroxidation markers such as thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, hydro-peroxides and antioxidants such as glutathione-S-transferase and reduced glutathione in lung tissue was carried out to substantiate the antioxidant effect of BE. The chemotherapeutic effect observed in the present study is attributed to the potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential by BE against pulmonary carcinogenesis.