Nitrosamine compounds are known hepatic carcinogens. In the metabolism of nitrosamines, such as N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), there is evidence of the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulting in oxidative stress, which may be one of the factors in the etiology of cancer. The formation of ROS may alter the antioxidant system, while the presence of Vitamin E may counteract NDEA induced oxidative stress. This study was planned to determine whether pre-treatment with Vitamin E (40 mg/kg body weight, i.p., twice a week for 4 weeks) to NDEA induced rats provides protection against oxidative stress in liver caused by the carcinogen. A single necrogenic dose of NDEA (200mg/kg body weight) was administered i.p. to the male albino rats with or without Vitamin E pre-treatment and the animals were sacrificed on Days 7, 14 or 21 after the administration of NDEA. The result showed enhanced levels of hepatic lipid peroxidation (LPO) and conjugated dienes of NDEA treated rats as the indices of oxidative stress, however, Vitamin E pre-treated rats administered NDEA showed decreased LPO and conjugated dienes (Day 21). Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in liver was not altered significantly in NDEA treated rats with or without Vitamin E pre-treatment. Catalase (CAT) activity was inhibited with NDEA treatment, however, Vitamin E pre-treatment showed recovery in hepatic CAT activity (Days 14 and 21). Total and Se-glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activity in liver increased in NDEA treated rats irrespective of Vitamin E pre-treatment. Glutathione reductase (GSH-R) activity as well as total glutathione (GSH) content in liver decreased in NDEA treated animals, both of which were recovered in Vitamin E pre-treated rats administered NDEA. Activities of serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were increased significantly following NDEA treatment to rats with or without Vitamin E pre-treatment. The activities of AST and ALT enzymes were significantly reduced on Days 14 and 21 and ALP activity was reduced on Day 21 in NDEA+Vitamin E treated animals when compared to NDEA treated alone. LDH enzyme activity was normalized on Day 14 in Vitamin E pre-treated animals administered NDEA. However, the AST, ALT and ALP enzyme activities remained high in all treatment groups as compared to control group. Normal control and Vitamin E treated alone rats revealed normal histology of liver. On the other hand, NDEA treated animals showed alterations in normal hepatic histoarchitecture, which comprised of necrosis and vacuolization of the cells. However, the rats treated with Vitamin E+NDEA showed that the liver cells were normal, with very little necrosis (Day 21). This study concludes that the pre-treatment with Vitamin E prior to the administration of NDEA, reduced the degree of oxidative stress, although this vitamin produced only slight changes in the hepatic injury, in a time-dependent manner.