Cisplatin is one of the most active cytotoxic agents in the treatment of cancer. High doses of cisplatin have also been known to produce hepatotoxicity. Several studies suggest that supplementation with an antioxidant can influence cisplatin-induced hepatotoxicity. The present study was designed to determine the effects of cisplatin on the liver oxidant/antioxidant system, and the possible protective effects of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) on liver toxicity induced by cisplatin. Twenty-four adult female Wistar albino rats were divided into four groups of six rats each: control, cisplatin, CAPE, and cisplatin + CAPE. Cisplatin and CAPE were injected intraperitoneally. Liver tissue was removed to study the activities of catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), myeloperoxidase (MPO), xanthine oxidase (XO), adenosine deaminase (ADA), and the levels of malondialdehyde and nitric oxide (NO). The activities of SOD and GSH-Px increased in the cisplatin + CAPE and CAPE groups compared with the cisplatin group. CAT activity was higher in the cisplatin + CAPE group than the other three groups. XO activity was lower in the cisplatin group than the control group. MPO activity was also increased in the cisplatin group compared to the control and CAPE groups. It can be concluded that CAPE may prevent cisplatin-induced oxidative changes in liver by strengthening the antioxidant defence system by reducing reactive oxygen species and increasing antioxidant enzyme activities. Copyright (c) 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.