The objective of this study is to determine the effects of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) on experimental endometriosis, peritoneal superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activities, and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels in the rat endometriosis model. Thirty rats with experimentally induced endometriosis were randomly divided into 2 groups and treated for 4 weeks with intraperitoneal CAPE (CAPE-treated group; 10 mu mo/kg/d, n=13) or vehicle (control group; n=13). The volume and weight changes of the implants were calculated. Immunohistochemical and histologic examinations of endometriotic explants by semiquantitative analysis and measurements of peritoneal SOD, CAT, and MDA levels were made. Following 4 weeks of treatment with CAPE, there were significant differences in posttreatment spherical volumes (37.4 +/- 14.7 mm(3) vs 147.5 +/- 41.2 mm(3)) and explant weights (49.1 +/- 28.5 mg vs 158.9 +/- 50.3 mg) between the CAPE-treated groups and controls. The mean evaluation nomogram levels in glandular epithelium for COX-2 positivity by scoring system were 2.1 +/- 0.3 in the CAPE-treated group and 3.9 +/- 0.3 in the control group. In the CAPE-treated group, peritoneal levels of MDA and activities of SOD and CAT significantly decreased when compared with the control group (P<0.1). Histologic analysis of the explants demonstrated mostly atrophy and regression in the treatment group, and semiquantitative analysis showed significantly lower scores in rats treated with CAPE compared with the control group. CAPE appeared to cause regression of experimental endometriosis.