Apoptosis, also known as cell suicide or programmed cell death, removes unwanted and genetically damaged cells from the body. Evasion of apoptosis is one of the major characteristic features of rapidly proliferating tumor cells. Chemopreventive agents inhibit or suppress tumor formation through apoptotic induction in target tissues. The aim of the present study was to investigate the pro-apoptotic potential of lupeol during 7,12-dimethylbenz(a) anthracene (DMBA) induced hamster buccal pouch carcinogenesis. Topical application of 0.5% DMBA three times a week for 14 weeks in the buccal pouches of golden Syrian hamsters resulted in oral squamous cell carcinoma. The expression pattern of apoptotic markers was analyzed using immunohistochemistry (p53, Bcl-2, Bax) and ELISA reader (caspase 3 and 9). In the present study, 100% tumor formation with defects in apoptotic markerexpression pattern was noticed in hamsters treated with DMBA alone. Oral administration of lupeol at a dose of 50 mg/kg bw completely prevented the formation oral tumors as well as decreased the expression p53 and Bcl-2, while increasing the expression of Bax and the activities of caspase 3 and 9. The present study thus indicated that lupeol might inhibit DMBA-induced oral tumor formation through its pro-apoptotic potential in golden Syrian hamsters.