Recent in vivo studies in humans have shown a dramatic effect of grapefruit juice in blocking the oxidation of dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers. The flavonoid naringin is the most abundant natural product specific for grapefruit and related citrus--the aglycone naringenin, known to be readily formed from naringin in humans, was found to inhibit the oxidation of the dihydropyridines nifedipine and felodipine in human liver microsomal preparations. These observations were of interest in light of the knowledge that the same human liver cytochrome P450 (IIIA4) appears to be a major catalyst in both nifedipine oxidation and aflatoxin B1 activation. Several flavones inhibited the in vitro activation of aflatoxin B1 in a system employing umuC gene activation due to DNA damage in Salmonella typhimurium TA1535/pSK1002, with naringenin being as effective as any. The high concentration of derivatives of naringenin in certain citrus fruits may be of relevance to cancer chemoprevention involving those carcinogens that are activated by cytochrome P-450IIIA4.