It is known that a short-term exposure of rat, mice or incubation of hepatic cells with fibrate molecules leads to increase in peroxisome number and cell hyperplasia. Further, long-term incubation of cells (at least a year) show transformed characteristics with foci and nodules. To explain the hepatocarcinogenic effect of peroxisome proliferators in rodents we studied the effect of peroxisome proliferators on rat liver oncogenes expression. Earlier, we reported an increase in liver and kidney mRNA level of c-myc and N-myc. Since several metabolic genes are activated by PPAR (peroxisome proliferators activated receptor) through a PPRE (peroxisome proliferator response element), we suggest the involvment of PPAR in oncogene activation, because of the presence of PPRE in the N-myc 5'-upstream region. We showed by flow cytometric analysis that ciprofibrate increased the size of rat Fao derived cell line and the activity of palmitoyl CoA oxidase, a peroxisome proliferation enzyme marker for studying peroxisome proliferation was increased. The above effects which can contribute to hepatocarcinogenesis seem to be restricted to rat and mice, which show strong response to peroxisome proliferators. Indeed, no changes are observed in weak responsive species such as humans (using hepatic derived cell lines) and guinea pig. These data provide arguments for the non-carcinogenic effect of this xenobiotic class in human especially when sensitive, or normal individuals are exposed either to hypolipidaemic agents of the fibrate family.