Cocoa was shown to inhibit chemically induced carcinogenesis in animals and exert antioxidant activity in humans. However, the molecular mechanisms of the chemopreventive potential of cocoa and its active ingredient(s) remain unknown. Here we report that cocoa procyanidins inhibit neoplastic cell transformation by suppressing the kinase activity of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK). A cocoa procyanidin fraction (CPF) and procyanidin B2 at 5 μg/ml and 40 μM, respectively, inhibited 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced neoplastic transformation of JB6 P+ mouse epidermal (JB6 P+) cells by 47 and 93%, respectively. The TPA-induced promoter activity and expression of cyclooxygenase-2, which is involved in tumor promotion and inflammation, were dose-dependently inhibited by CPF or procyanidin B2. The activation of activator protein-1 and nuclear factor-κB induced by TPA was also attenuated by CPF or procyanidin B2. The TPA-induced phosphorylation of MEK, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, and p90 ribosomal s6 kinase was suppressed by CPF or procyanidin B2. In vitro and ex vivo kinase assay data demonstrated that CPF or procyanidin B2 inhibited the kinase activity of MEK1 and directly bound with MEK1. CPF or procyanidin B2 suppressed JB6 P+ cell transformation induced by epidermal growth factor or H-Ras, both of which are known to be involved in MEK/ERK signal activation. In contrast, theobromine (up to 80 μM) had no effect on TPA-induced transformation, cyclooxygenase-2 expression, the transactivation of activator protein-1 or nuclear factor-κB, or MEK. Notably, procyanidin B2 exerted stronger inhibitory effects compared with PD098059 (a well known pharmacological inhibitor of MEK) on MEK1 activity and neoplastic cell transformation.