Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy found in males and one of the most common causes of cancer death. The epidemiology implicates environmental and nutritional factors in the initiation and progression of the disease. Identification of these factors would allow chemoprevention strategies to be tested. Potent mutagenic and carcinogenic heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are produced in cooked meat, and following metabolic activation some of them are strongly associated with prostate carcinogenesis in rodents. Primary cell cultures of human prostate epithelial cells were obtained from patients undergoing transurethral resection of the prostate. Metabolic activation of the cooked food carcinogens 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo- [4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) and benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) was examined and resultant DNA damage (single strand breaks) measured using the Comet assay. Increased concentrations of carcinogen were associated with increased DNA damage and comet tail length compared to controls.