Regional specific relationships between oxidative stress and the development of glutathione S-transferase placental form (GST-P)-positive or GST-P-negative lesions in rats, induced by fenofibrate (FF), a peroxisome proliferator, were examined using a two-stage hepatocarcinogenesis model in F344 rats. Animals were initiated with a single ip injection of 200 mg/kg N-diethylnitrosamine (DEN) and from 2 weeks later were fed a diet containing 3000 or 0 ppm FF for 28 weeks. Animals were subjected to a two-third partial hepatectomy at week 3 and sacrificed at week 28. The development of hepatocellular proliferative lesions, which were mainly attributed to GST-P-negative lesions, was significantly increased in the FF-treated groups. Immunohistochemically, GST-P-positive lesions were devoid of intracytoplasmic nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) expression, whereas GST-P-negative lesions expressed higher levels of cytoplasmic Nrf2. On the other hand, nuclear accumulation of Nrf2 was observed in some cells of GST-P-positive lesions that were negative for Nrf2 in the cytoplasm and in GST-P-negative lesions of the DEN-FF group that were positive for Nrf2 in the cytoplasm. The mRNA expression levels of Gpx2 or Gsta2, Nrf2-inducible enzymes, were increased in GST-P-positive tumors or GST-P-positive lesions, respectively. These results suggest that the activation of Nrf2, due to nuclear translocation, occurs in the GST-P-positive lesions. In addition, the development of continuous oxidative stress was identified by mRNA expression analyses as well as by measurements of GST activity and 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine. These results suggest that the relative inhibition of nuclear translocation of Nrf2 in GST-P-negative lesions aggravated the condition of oxidative stress in the liver of rats given FF, resulting in enhanced tumor promotion in FF-induced hepatocarcinogenesis.