Studies in laboratory animals have demonstrated that dietary supplements of organoselenium, 1,4-phenylenebis(methylene)selenocyanate (p-XSC) inhibit colon carcinogenesis. Diverse chemopreventive agents and clinically used anticancer drugs have been shown to induce apoptosis in colonic tumors. Inducing apoptosis is a key mechanism for the effectiveness of some chemopreventive agents; however, failure of apoptosis is now believed to contribute to the development of human cancer. In this study, we determined the number of apoptotic bodies in the colon tumors of rats fed a low-fat (LF) or a high-fat (HF) diet with or without p-XSC treatment. At 5 weeks of age, male F344 rats were divided into four groups, which were then maintained on one of the following diets: LF, 5% corn oil; HF, 23.5% corn oil; and LF and HF supplemented with 20 ppm p-XSC. In addition, the LF or HF diet with p-XSC supplements was administered either during the initiation stage or postinitiation. At 7 weeks of age, all rats except those intended for vehicle (normal saline) treatment were given 15 mg/kg of body weight of azoxymethane once weekly for 2 weeks. The animals were sacrificed 38 weeks after carcinogen treatment, and their colonic tumors were examined for appearance of apoptosis. The LF diet significantly increased the percentage of apoptosis as compared to the HF diet; the percentage of apoptosis in LF and HF diets were 12.4 and 2.9. The colon tumors that were present in the groups fed p-XSC together with a LF or a HF diet after carcinogen administration (postinitiation period) had a higher number of apoptotic bodies than those that were present in the animals fed p-XSC before carcinogen treatment (initiation period). The extent of apoptosis was weak when p-XSC was given with a HF diet (4.4%) during the initiation phase, but it was high significant when p-XSC was administered with LF diet (25.2%). Taken together, our data suggest that administration of LF diet supplemented with p-XSC increases apoptosis as compared to a HF diet alone.